Can Children be Treated For a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure, not only for adults but may also be required for decayed, damaged or infected baby and permanent teeth of young children.
Severe baby bottle tooth decay is seen in very young children, where a tooth or multiple baby teeth are grossly decayed. These teeth may become an epicenter for bacterial growth, causing a bacterial infection that will inflict a lot of pain and damage. A Specialist Pediatric Dentist can safely and painlessly perform a root canal procedure to save the baby tooth and restore function.
The need for a root canal
Our tooth is made up of an outer hard enamel layer, middle soft dentin layer and an internal space called a pulp chamber that contains nerves and blood vessels. A child with severe tooth pain due to decay, usually is suggestive of the decay having reached the nerves of the tooth which are responsible for the sensation of hot and cold, making it difficult for a child to chew or even sleep properly.
Damage to the pulp chamber will ultimately allow bacterial growth to build up and slowly become infected. If this infection is not treated and is allowed to persist, it can cause tooth abscess which can damage the underlying permanent tooth. Children can experience a sudden swelling in the face, neck, and head and have seepage of bacterial fluid from the tooth to the gum and surrounding skin.
All of these problems can be avoided if parents bring their children for early routine dental checkups, however if an issue arises, a Specialist Pediatric Dentist will be able to resolve it. In most cases, a Pediatric Dentist will not extract the baby teeth, but will opt for a root canal treatment to save the decaying or damaged tooth to ensure the integrity and functionality of the baby tooth can be maintained until the child’s second set of teeth erupt.
What is this procedure like for children?
Usually children as young as 2 years may have decayed or damaged teeth requiring root canal treatment.
The technique of root canal procedure is similar as that done for adults, however the main challenge for children lies in reducing fear and achieving cooperation to sit for a prolonged period of time. A Pediatric Dentist is trained to efficiently perform a root canal treatment with the cooperation of the child using behaviour management techniques and aid it with some laughing gas. If multiple teeth are involved or a child is young, it may be performed under general anesthesia.
After numbing the tooth if required, the infected contents inside the roots and pulp chamber are fully removed, the roots cleaned and filled with a biocompatible material. The Pediatric Dentist will then place a crown on the treated tooth to protect it and to regain strength and proper functionality. In due course as the permanent tooth is ready to replace the baby tooth, the baby tooth is naturally shed along with the crown.
Should I choose a root canal or tooth extraction for my child?
This decision is best made by the Pediatric Dentist after a thorough examination of the child is complete. Usually a Pediatric Dentist will opt to save the baby tooth with root canal instead of a tooth extraction as it is the best choice for the child. With use of advanced techniques like laser assisted root canals, biocompatible materials, it is possible now to save severely damaged baby teeth. However, if the tooth is determined to be too damaged or decayed then extraction may be the only option.
By letting the child keep their natural tooth, they are able to retain their functionality of the teeth and jaw, allowing them to eat properly and not endure any speech impediments that invariably come with tooth loss.
Baby teeth in children act as a guide for their incoming set of adult teeth, so by allowing a child to keep their baby teeth, you can ensure proper positioning of the adult teeth. Meaning, you can effectively avoid extensive orthodontic treatment in the future!
At Go Dental Clinic, we want your children to grow up healthy and happy. Our Pediatric Dentists are here to teach parents and their children about keeping a healthy oral hygiene routine. If you’re interested in starting your child’s journey to a better smile, please Contact Us on +971 4 397 9522 at any time to book a Consultation with one of our Pediatric Dentists or click here.