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Can a Root Canal Be Performed on a Child’s Teeth?

April 19, 2021

When hearing the term “root canal,” it’s unlikely that you think of a child going through that type of procedure. However, when teeth baby teeth become severely decayed that a dental filling or crown will not suffice, the only option is to perform either a pulpectomy or a pulpotomy to save the tooth and avoid potential problems in the future. Read on to learn more about root canals for kids in Sun City West and what you can do to help your little one keep their baby teeth as long as possible.

Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy: What’s the Difference?

When an infection occurs within your child’s tooth, typically a dental filling or crown is the suitable option for treatment. Unfortunately, when the decay or damage is too severe, it requires a skilled pediatric dentist in Sun City West to perform one of two methods of complex dental work: a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy.

A pulpotomy is the process of removing the pulp inside the crown and is often recommended if a cavity forms and begins to impact this particular area of the tooth. Your child may complain of sensitivity, which is a clear indicator that an untreated cavity is causing inflammation of the pulp in the dental crown.

A pulpectomy is a procedure that involves removing the entire pulp from the crown and root canal. Containing various nerve endings, this tissue is necessary to help keep the tooth alive; however, if it becomes too decayed or damaged, the pulp is removed in an attempt to save the primary tooth. This type of procedure is most often performed because an infection reaches the inner pulp or increased trauma causes a deep crack that exposes this layer of the tooth.

How Are They Performed?

Depending on the severity of the decay or damage, your child’s dentist will recommend the appropriate treatment. A pulpotomy in Sun City West will require your child to receive a topical and local anesthetic before the dentist removes the decayed portions of the tooth. Once they can access the pulp chamber within the crown, they will remove what is referred to as the “coronal pulp” and use cotton to cease any bleeding before thoroughly cleaning the area and treating the remaining pulp. The dentist will apply special medication before sealing the pulp chamber and placing a customized dental crown.

Should your child need a pulpectomy, the dentist will administer local anesthesia before placing a rubber dental dam around the problem tooth, isolating it from the rest of the oral cavity. After removing the decayed portions of the tooth, the dentist will extract the inner pulp before disinfecting the remaining tooth structure. The canals of your child’s tooth will then be filled before dressing is applied.

Why It’s Important to Keep Baby Teeth in Place

Your child’s baby teeth serve as placeholders for their adult teeth. If allowed to fall out too early, it can cause their permanent teeth to erupt misaligned, resulting in possible orthodontic treatment later on. By saving these initial pearly whites from extraction, your child can keep their primary teeth firmly in place until it’s time for them to fall out on their own.

If you’re unsure how to help your child avoid cavities and dental trauma, talk to their dentist about ways to safeguard their smile at home.

About the Author
Dr. Kevin Mueller is a trusted dentist in Sun City West who completed his dental doctorate at Southern Illinois University. After receiving advanced education and training at the Pankey Institute, Dawson Institute, the Spear Center, and the Hornbrook Institute, he went on to lead a team of experts at AZ Smile Design. Caring for patients of all ages, he and his staff are pleased to offer services to even the youngest individuals. If a child is experiencing severe decay, Dr. Mueller can employ pulp therapy to help save the baby tooth and encourage proper eruption and alignment of the adult tooth when it’s ready to push through. If you have a child who is suffering from immense tooth pain, visit our website or call (623) 474-3343.