Endodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with dental pulp – the soft central part of a tooth. Although root canals are usually sought out by adults, children can benefit from this therapy as well. The desired end result of any root canal therapy is a tooth that is free of infection and decay – even if that tooth is a baby tooth.
Why have a Root Canal?
If a child’s baby tooth is showing signs of severe tooth decay or has been damaged by physical trauma, it is possible to save that tooth with a root canal. Although baby teeth will eventually fall out, they are essential for proper biting and chewing, for speech development, and as “space holders” for permanent teeth. In order to ascertain whether a root canal is the right option, the dentist will consider the following:
- Which tooth is damaged?
- How long before that tooth falls out naturally?
- How much damage is there?
- Has the surrounding bone or gum been damaged?
Baby teeth do fall out naturally, but that doesn’t mean its okay to extract an infected baby tooth without just cause. In fact, because of the success of root canal treatments for children, most teeth can be saved and still function until the adult teeth come in and naturally push the baby tooth out.
The treatment involves removing all of the pulp and thoroughly cleaning the inner portion of the tooth. Once clean, the dentist fills the empty space with a special material called gutta-percha. The tooth is then capped with a stainless steel crown in order to protect it. Depending on the tooth’s location, the crown can also be covered with a white, tooth-colored material for a more aesthetic result.
It is very important for the child to continue a regime of regular brushing and flushing to prevent any new oral problems. Depending on the severity of the case, root canal therapy may take more than one visit. Your family dentist will speak to you about your child’s oral health and the treatment plan to correct it.
Talk to your Family Dentist in Escondido
If your child has been complaining about a tooth ache for more than a few days, or has suffered a dental emergency, contact The Marler Campbell Dental Group to schedule an appointment. Primary teeth are important to the development of your child’s long-term oral health. Our family dental practice in Escondido dedicates their services to patients of all ages.