Are Root Canals Really Necessary for Children?

Up to this day, the words “root canal” still strikes fear into the hearts of many. What happens if you find out that your child needs one too?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents to bring children to a dentist after the first tooth erupts and no later than 12 months of age. Through regular checkups, your child’s dentist can detect and prevent tooth decay before they get worse.

If a tooth is severely injured or decayed, your child’s dentist may recommend doing a root canal treatment.

What’s a baby root canal?

When a baby tooth has a very deep cavity that affects part of the nerve, it will most likely need nerve treatment most commonly referred to as a baby root canal. This procedure involves removing part of the affected nerve and placing a medicated material over it. The tooth is then covered with a crown (“cap”) which is a more long-lasting restoration for the tooth.

Are root canals safe for kids?

Yes. Performed properly, baby root canals are safe for children. The materials used in the procedure are compatible with the body and do not cause harm.

Are baby root canals necessary for children or should they be avoided?

If a tooth can be effectively treated and saved with a baby root canal, then this is the most advisable treatment to choose. Despite being “just a baby tooth that will eventually fall out,” the tooth is necessary to hold the space for the permanent tooth that is developing below it. If left untreated, the infection may also spread downwards and affect the developing permanent tooth. In addition, it may cause pain, affect your child’s eating habits, concentration in school and possibly cause a bad infection that may require antibiotics or hospitalization.

Any advice for parents that are contemplating the baby root canal treatment for their child?

Baby root canals are not as complicated as adult root canals. They usually require a single visit and most often the experience is similar to getting a normal filling. Parents should also ask their pediatric dentist all the questions they need to ask before treatment, so as to ease any anxiety that usually comes up when the treatment is recommended.

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