Pediatric Root Canal Therapy
Many parents will question if root canal therapy is necessary for their children’s teeth, particularly their primary, or baby, teeth. Our staff at Dr. Ewing would tell you that yes if there is an infection inside the pulp of your child’s primary tooth, we do want to remove the source of the infection while still doing what we can to save the tooth. Root canal treatment is a safe and effective treatment to remove painful bacteria from the inside of a tooth. Additionally, it is the best course of treatment to save a tooth from being lost too soon. Our staff is happy to review your child’s specific needs and discuss options with you during your first appointment.
Why Is It Important to Save a Primary Tooth with Root Canal Therapy?
A common question from parents is why we would take action to save a baby tooth, after all, it’s just going to fall out soon anyway, right? We believe that there are some very good reasons to save your child’s baby teeth for as long as possible, allowing them to come out when nature decides. When a tooth that has been damaged by trauma or infection can be saved with a root canal, we often will recommend that course of action.
Saving your child’s primary teeth is important because:
||Uneven Chewing: If your child is missing a tooth they can experience changes in their chewing. Your child may begin chewing on only one side of their mouth, causing excessive wear to that side. They may also avoid foods in their diet and with time assume they don't like those food items, due to the discomfort of chewing.
||Inhibit Speech Development: Missing teeth can cause delays or distortion of your child's speech. They may move their mouth or tongue differently when they pronounce certain sounds. After they have done this for a long period, they may grow accustomed to saying sounds in a different way making it difficult to make those sounds correctly.
||Alter Teeth Positioning: Your child's baby teeth play an important role in serving as placeholders for the permanent teeth. When a space is available, it allows teeth room to roam. This can severely affect your child's bite and rarely for the better. Parents have pointed out that orthodontists often make space by removing teeth, thinking that space is good, but an orthodontist removes teeth so that other teeth can be moved in a controlled manner. Teeth moving in an uncontrolled manner is rarely, if ever, in your favor.
Root Canal Treatment for Children
When performing root canal therapy on a child, we try to keep the work as minimal as necessary. Our primary goal is to keep your child comfortable while taking their long-term oral health into consideration. We will numb the area with a local anesthetic and may suggest a conscious sedation option such as nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which is an inhaled sedation used to calm nerves. Your child may need either a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy.
In this procedure, we remove all of the inflamed pulp, while still leaving the healthy pulp in place. Additionally, we will leave the tooth root area still intact and alive. This is minimal treatment as a way to keep as much tooth intact as possible. The partially empty area of the tooth is then filled with dental cement, and we place a stainless steel cap or dental crown over the tooth.
We perform a complete removal of the pulp and entire pulp material when both the crown and root parts of the tooth are infected. This procedure is known as a pulpectomy. The entire area is cleaned and disinfected, it is then filled with dental cement, and the tooth is capped with a dental crown.
If your child needs a root canal, or if you would like more information on root canal safety, contact our office at (828) 627-1999 today.