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Hearing that you need a root canal is intimidating. However, being told that your child needs a root canal can be downright terrifying. If you’re the parent of a child who needs root canal treatment, there are a few things you should know.
First, it’s important to bear in mind that root canals are common, safe, and straightforward procedures. A root canal will eliminate your child’s pain and discomfort, not traumatize them further. Furthermore, the entire dental team at Bloor West Smiles is dedicated to making you and your child feel comfortable and at ease while you’re in our care.
In this article, we will answer the questions most commonly asked by parents in your situation. If you have any additional questions, please contact us at Bloor West Smiles in Toronto.
What is a root canal treatment?
When a tooth is damaged, the pulp located inside the tooth can become inflamed and infected. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the tooth’s root and form an abscess. The infection is very painful and will not go away without treatment.
Root canals are used to treat this infection within the tooth’s pulp. The goal of a root canal is to remove the infection while preserving the tooth, the gum tissue, and the supporting bones.
As there is no equivalent replacement for a natural tooth, your dentist at Bloor West Smiles will always recommend a root canal instead of a tooth extraction when possible—even with children! Baby teeth serve several critical functions, so it’s still preferable to preserve rather than extract them.
Root canal treatments are the same for children as they are for adults. However, your dentist may recommend a sedative if your child is very young, nervous, or has special needs. Many adult patients only require a local anesthetic.
The root canal procedure is performed over two appointments. The first one goes like this:
Your child is given a sedative or local anesthetic.
A dental dam is used to isolate the infected tooth.
The crown of the tooth is opened and the infected pulp is removed with small dental instruments.
The area, including the affected roots, is cleaned, disinfected, and sterilized to eliminate bacteria.
A temporary filling is placed inside the crown to protect the tooth.
If the infection has spread beyond the roots, antibiotics may be prescribed.
A second appointment is scheduled after your child has had time to heal. The second appointment includes the following steps:
The temporary filling is removed.
The root channel is permanently filled and sealed.
A permanent filling or pediatric crown restores the original size, shape, and function of the tooth.
When do children need root canals?
It’s not uncommon for children to need root canals. In fact, children often require root canal treatments because of injuries or severe tooth decay. For example, a blow to the face while playing sports can damage a tooth and cause inflammation and infection. If the crack in the tooth reaches the soft tissue within, a root canal may be needed to remove the resulting infection.
Poor oral hygiene and unhealthy eating habits can lead to cavities in children. If not addressed, these cavities can progress into serious tooth infections that require a root canal.
Visiting a dentist is the only way to determine if your child needs a root canal. Your dentist at Bloor West Smiles will use professional diagnostic equipment to assess the tooth’s health. Moreover, they will determine if there is an infection in the interior of your child’s tooth. If there is, they will likely recommend a root canal to preserve the remaining tooth structure.
Are root canals safe for children?
Root canals are safe for everyone, including children. These are very common treatments that are straightforward and safe. Your dentist at Bloor West Smiles in Toronto has performed hundreds of root canal procedures on patients of all ages!
Additionally, deciding not to proceed with a root canal treatment for your child is far more dangerous. Root canals are used to treat severe infections that will not go away on their own. If untreated, the infection can spread and lead to even more serious health issues.
Is a root canal painful?
The infection within your child’s tooth is undoubtedly causing them severe pain. A root canal procedure, on the other hand, will not. Your child shouldn’t feel any pain during the root canal because of the local anesthetic or sedative.
Afterwards, they will feel some discomfort and sensitivity. Ibuprofen and other pain relievers will help your child manage any soreness.
Won’t the tooth just fall out anyway?
Your child’s baby teeth will fall out on their own. However, they need to be properly cared for until then. Losing a baby tooth too early can have negative oral health implications for your child. After all, baby teeth have an important role to play.
Of course, baby teeth assist with chewing and speaking. They’re also vital for the healthy development of your child’s permanent teeth. Early removal of a baby tooth can cause permanent misalignment of adult teeth and jaw damage. Therefore, it’s important to preserve the baby tooth whenever possible.
Root canals are the ideal treatment because they treat infection within the tooth without prematurely removing the baby tooth.
Signs Your Child Needs a Root Canal
Your child is complaining of intense tooth pain.
They’re having trouble chewing.
They’re sensitive to food and beverage temperatures.
One of their teeth is discoloured.
Their breath has a foul odour.
Their gums are swollen, red, or bleeding.
They have a fever and seem lethargic.
Root Canal Prevention
There’s no way to prevent tooth damage from an accident or injury (except with a custom mouthguard for sports). However, proper oral hygiene can prevent tooth decay and the need for a root canal.
It’s essential to teach your child how to care for their teeth, as well as the importance of good oral health. Ensure they brush twice a day, floss once daily, eat healthy meals, and drink plenty of water instead of sugary beverages.
Choose Bloor West Smiles for Children’s Root Canal Treatment in Toronto
A root canal treatment removes infection from the pulp of your child’s baby tooth, preventing the spread of infection and putting an end to their pain. This procedure is perfectly safe, straightforward, and incredibly common.
Dr. Kostirko at Bloor West Smiles has performed thousands of root canals on patients of all ages during his more than 25 years of practice. His calm and gentle manner will put you and your child at ease.