Root Canal Therapy for Children

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When parents hear that the kids need to have a root canal, their minds begin to race. Why do the kids need this procedure? Isn’t the root canal painful? Is there no other way to save the tooth? Why did it happen in the first place? Parents might have to look at the family’s eating habits to get to the bottom of the problem.

Yes, a root canal can be done on kids, too. This therapy is not solely for adults since kids’ teeth can get damaged or infected, too. Parents need to understand why this procedure is vital to save the kids’ teeth. A pediatric dentist can explain the procedure and why it is better than a tooth extraction.

What is a root canal for kids?

A root canal is a surgical procedure that removes the diseased pulp from the kid’s tooth. The pulp is the most important part of the tooth, so the dying tissue from deep inside needs to be removed. The process will stop and prevent further infection. That tooth pulp also contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue.

What causes babies to need a root canal? Tooth decay is the main reason for a root canal. When bacteria get inside the mouth, they can also get through gaps and cracks in the teeth and settle into the pulp. The bacteria damage the inside of the tooth, so the root canal will pull the pulp out to save the tooth.

Safe for kids

Parents are worried about their kids undergoing a root canal. In fact, many of them would rather let their kids lose teeth prematurely than undergo a root canal. After all, permanent teeth would grow in the same spots, right? The problem is when a baby tooth falls out because of bacteria, infection, and pus, it might lead to developmental issues, such as:
  • Slurred speech
  • Inability to chew properly
  • Wrong alignment of permanent teeth
  • Crooked teeth

Preparing kids for root canal

Of course, parents will have a more challenging time preparing kids for a root canal. The common belief is that root canals are painful. Tell the kids that the pediatric dentist will give them medicine for the pain. Once the kids are sure they will not be in pain, they will be more open to the procedure, and parents will not have to worry.

Depending on the kids' age, the dentist will do an X-ray. The results of the X-ray will give the dentists an idea of where the infected tooth is located. The dentists will also determine the size and shape of the root canal. Normally, the root canal procedure will last for an hour, but that depends on the severity of the problem.
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Avoiding root canal

Parents need to help kids avoid root canals in the future. Proper dental hygiene begins at home. You should teach them to brush properly, floss every day, and use mouthwash. Good eating habits such as avoiding hard candies and sweets and staying away from acidic food will also help.

Request an appointment or call Camelback Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics at 602-595-3531 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.

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