Can a Child Undergo a Root Canal for Baby Teeth?

The idea of a root canal for baby teeth may sound unlikely, but the procedure is surprisingly common. Keep reading to learn when a pediatric dentist recommends this treatment. Baby teeth may be temporary, but they play several important roles during the short time they sit in your child’s mouth. Ideally, the milk teeth should only fall out when the permanent teeth are ready to emerge.

A pediatric dentist will recommend intervention for young patients who are at risk of losing their baby teeth earlier than they should. They might recommend the most conservative treatment option that can help their patient. Sometimes, the most conservative treatment option happens to be a root canal for milk teeth.

Why a child would need a root canal for baby teeth

Given a chance, harmful mouth bacteria will breach the enamel and cause tooth decay. The infection can make its way into the inner tooth, causing damage to soft tissue and nerves. Without timely treatment, infection of the inner tooth can cause the tooth to die altogether.

A pediatric dentist who encounters a severe infection of the inner tooth will typically have two options. They will either have to extract the tooth or try to salvage it. The dentist will extract the tooth when the infection might otherwise spread to other areas. They will extract the tooth to prevent damage to the gums and adjacent teeth. It bears mentioning that early extraction of a baby tooth is a last resort.

The second to last resort is the removal of all infected tissue in the inner tooth. The dentist will check and double-check to confirm that only healthy tissue remains after the procedure. In the process, they may remove sections of nerve tissue, which helps with pain relief. A successful root canal all but eliminates chances of re-infection.

How a pediatric dentist performs a root canal for baby teeth

A baby root canal generally involves the following steps:
  • First, the dentist will completely numb the tooth
  • They will isolate the problem tooth and drill past the enamel to access the pulp
  • The dentist will remove all infection and dead tissue, including sections of damaged nerve tissue
  • They will perform a thorough assessment of the tooth to make sure that only healthy tissue remains
  • Next, the dentist will apply medicine to any remaining nerve tissue
  • The dentist will seal the inner tooth and install a restoration to reinforce the tooth’s structure
Baby teeth that fall out too early cause the remaining teeth to shift to fill the gap. This misalignment creates an obstruction that keeps the replacement tooth from erupting as it should. To prevent future orthodontic problems, a dentist will favor a baby root canal over an extraction.

Does your child need a root canal for baby teeth?

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Root Canal for Baby Teeth in Phoenix, AZ.

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