All About Children’s Root Canals

All About Children’s Root Canals
Some people think that root canals are just for adults, but there are instances when they may be an appropriate treatment for children or teens. Dr. Forrester can use a root canal or a pulpotomy (keep reading to learn what that is) to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. The procedure consists of cleaning the canals inside of the tooth. And while this treatment was once thought to be an extremely painful procedure, there are advances now that make it much more comfortable.

The difference in a Root Canal and a Pulpotomy 

In the most basic terms, a root canal is usually performed on an adult tooth that is no longer vital, and a pulpotomy is usually performed on a baby tooth that is alive. A pulpotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes the infected and damaged top most pulp from your child’s tooth. A root canal does the same thing but takes it a step further by removing the root of the tooth as well before filling and sealing.

When is a Root Canal or Pulpotomy Necessary? 

Root canals and pulpotomies can be performed at any age. The good news is that most often the procedures are only needed if the damage to a tooth is extensive. They are sometimes necessary to avoid losing a tooth. Here are some instances where the decision to perform a root canal or pulpotomy might be made. 

·      When a tooth has become infected.
·      When an abscess or pus pocket has formed.
·      When the loss of a tooth would cause speech or eating problems.
·      When tooth loss would limit the function of the jaws or tongue.

Signs Your Child Needs a Root Canal or Pulpotomy 

It is difficult to know whether your child may need a root canal or pulpotomy without a formal diagnosis. If you ever think that your child needs to be seen outside of their normal checkup schedule, never hesitate to contact us. Here are some signs that your child needs to be seen immediately.
·      Persistent and/or unexplained pain in a single tooth
·      High sensitivity to hot or cold food
·      Swelling around a single tooth
·      Redness around a single tooth
·      Unexpected looseness of the affected tooth

How to Avoid a Root Canal or Pulpotomy 

A root canal or pulpotomy is only used in the case of extensive damage. We want to help your kids avoid them in any way that we can. Follow these tips to help keep your kids’ teeth in tip-top shape.
·      Brush in the morning and before bed.
·      Floss every day to make sure that all surfaces of your child’s teeth are thoroughly clean.
·      Avoid hard candies that can crack teeth.
·      Don’t eat ice. Chewing ice can crack or break teeth or fillings.
·      If your child grinds their teeth, they should wear a night guard to bed.
·      Use a mouth guard when playing high-contact sports.
·      Cut down on acidic food and drink. Acid from certain foods and drinks like juices and sodas can break down the tooth enamel leaving them susceptible to decay. 

Be Prepared

The best way to avoid a root canal or pulpotomy is to prevent the need for them, and we can help. Don’t skip regularly scheduled, twice-yearly checkups. These checkups can catch cracks or cavities early so that they can be repaired before more extensive treatment is needed. Never wait if your child is experiencing tooth pain. Ignoring pain can only lead to more damage and the potential need for more invasive treatment. Contact us for any questions or concerns. Our team is always here to serve your family.
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