Your child’s baby teeth are important. Not only do they help your child to eat and speak, but they also hold the space necessary for their permanent teeth, and aid in their proper alignment. If your child is in need of a root canal, Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry can help.
When Does Your Child Need a Root Canal?
A root canal in your child’s baby tooth becomes necessary when the pulp of the tooth becomes exposed. This can happen as a result of a serious cavity, or a crack (or chip) in the enamel. When the pulp is exposed, it becomes damaged. It is also at risk of bacterial invasion and infection. At this point, the tooth is beyond the help of antibiotics or repairing the surface of the enamel. The root canal is designed to remove the infected pulp of the tooth and provide it with the protection it needs to stay in place until the permanent tooth is ready.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
There are a few symptoms that can indicate an infection inside your child’s tooth. These include tooth pain when biting or chewing. Your child may also experience pain and sensitivity when their teeth are exposed to heat or cold (sensitivity can also be spurred by foods that are acidic, salty, spicy, or sweet).
Before we move ahead with a root canal treatment, we first must diagnose the issue. We start with a visual inspection of your child’s teeth, checking them for signs of a cavity or other damage that may have exposed the pulp of the tooth. We will also take an x-ray so that we can see the extent of the damage.
How Is a Root Canal on a Baby Tooth Different?
Root canals on most baby teeth involve a pulpotomy. With this type of treatment, only the infected pulp chamber inside the crown of your child’s tooth is removed. In most cases, we do not need to remove the pulp in the roots of the tooth. A medicament is placed over the remaining pulp to protect it. In general, a pulpotomy is a quicker, easier procedure that involves a lot less discomfort for your child.
Root Canal Procedure
Before we begin the root canal, we first ensure the comfort of your child. In most cases, their root canal can be performed with only a local anesthetic, which will help to ensure that they feel no pain. We then place a protective dam around the tooth, which will help to prevent bacteria from entering as we work. We then drill a small hole into the tooth, cleaning out any decay, leading to the pulp. The infected pulp is removed, and the interior of the tooth is cleaned and disinfected. A medicament is placed on top of the remaining pulp to stop the bleeding. The tooth is filled and then trimmed, making space for your child’s stainless steel crown. Finally, the crown is placed on top of the tooth, which protects the tooth from any new issues, and provides it with strength.
A root canal treatment will save your child’s baby tooth, preventing it from falling out, or needing to be extracted, prematurely. If your child is experiencing tooth pain, call Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry at (253) 466-1696 to schedule an appointment today.