Kids Root Canal
Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health revealed around 4 in 10 (42%) children aged 5–10 had experienced dental caries in their primary teeth, and they were more likely to have last visited the dentist for a dental problem (68%) than for a check-up (36%). Most dental problems are associated with pain. Often the pain is due to nerve involvement of a tooth, and root canal treatment may be needed to resolve the issue.
If your child has a paediatric dentist appointment for a root canal procedure, you probably have many questions and concerns.
We have compiled a guide that provides all necessary information on kids’ root canals and why it might be the best treatment option for your child’s teeth issues. Our highly experienced paediatric dentists can perform a root canal or endodontic treatment to remove infections and save your loved one’s teeth.
Root Canal for Children Explained
A root canal is a procedure your child’s dentist performs to eliminate the diseased pulp in the child’s tooth. In essence, root canals are designed to remove bacteria and dead or dying tissue from deep inside your child’s tooth. The affected area is commonly referred to as pulp and is one of the most crucial parts of the tooth.
The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves that fill the tooth’s roots. Each of these roots helps secure your child’s teeth to their gum and jawbone. In most cases, a root canal is recommended if your child’s tooth is damaged or infected. It can also be an ideal treatment to prevent a baby’s tooth from coming out too soon to trigger bite problems. In such a scenario, a root canal will help save the tooth and give it extra time to fall out naturally when it is ready.
Is a Root Canal Suitable for Kids?
If your child’s tooth can be treated effectively with a pediatric root canal, then it could be the best treatment to choose. Although the baby’s tooth will eventually fall o, it is crucial to hold and nurture the space for the permanent tooth that is developing below it. Ideally, if left untreated, the infection in the pulp will eventually spread downwards and affect the developing permanent tooth.
Additionally, if your baby’s tooth falls off too soon due to complications such as infection, cavity, pus, and heavy damage, your child could face the following developmental issues:
- Overlapping and crooked adjacent teeth
- Wrong alignment of the growing permanent teeth
- Inability to chew food properly
If you want to prevent these issues that have the potential to affect your child’s healthy growth and self-confidence, your dentist may recommend a root canal to save the infected tooth. The root canal allows the tooth the time it needs to fall out at an ideal stage.
How Do We Determine If a Root Canal is Ideal?
Our experienced paediatric dentists in Brisbane follow the industry-standard procedure used by professionals worldwide to diagnose whether a root canal treatment is ideal for your kid. If you notice an infected tooth accompanied by pain, tooth sensitivity, and inflammation around the tooth, take your kid to the pediatric dentist immediately for a thorough evaluation. Pediatric dentists may take the following steps:
Physical examination: Our skilled dentists will conduct a thorough physical examination of your child’s teeth to check for visible signs of an infection on the tooth and pulp.
Dental X-ray: The next step involves performing an X-ray on the kid’s teeth. The x-ray helps reveal hidden signs of infection and provides clarity on the intensity of the infection. The dentists will also use the x-ray results to determine if a root canal will be necessary to save the tooth.
Preparing the child: Depending on your child’s age, the dentist may recommend you communicate with them about the root canal procedure. At our dental clinic, our experts will help explain the procedure’s necessity and help prevent other dental issues from occurring. Communication is critical to help ease any fears and prepare your child mentally.
Once our certified paediatric dentists are convinced a root canal treatment is the best option, they will give you a set of instructions that you should follow in the days leading to the treatment.
These instructions may include:
- Diet: There could be some alteration in your kid’s diet on the days leading to the root canal procedure. This includes offering soft/semi-liquid food and avoiding fried and sugar-based foods as well as any aerated drinks.
- Antibiotics: The dentist may also give the child some antibiotics that help stop the further spread of the infection while providing relief to the child.
What are the Approaches to Performing Root Canals on Children?
There are three primary approaches to root canal for children. The dentist chooses the ideal approach depending on the type of infection or tooth decay, level of infection, and other factors. At Pure Dentistry, we understand each child’s issue is unique, and our dentists will tailor-make the ideal root canal technique that suit’s the patient’s specific needs:
Indirect Pulp therapy
Indirect pulp therapy is preferred when there is very minimal damage to the pulp and caries has not reached the pulp yet. Ideally, indirect pulp therapy is used during the infection’s early stages that have not yet caused massive damage. During the procedure, the dentist removes the decay delicately without touching the pulp. The paediatric dentist may apply special medicament on the area close to the pulp before sealing it.
Another popular approach to a root canal is pulpotomy or partial root canal. Pulpotomy could be the best option if the X-Ray results reveal the infection is only limited to the upper part of the tooth. The pediatric dentists remove only the damaged/infected pulp from the tooth during the procedure without touching the healthy pulp. It is recommended that the tooth be sealed with a stainless steel dental crown to increase the likelihood of success and to prevent re-infection of the tooth.
Pulpectomy may be preferred in cases where the infection has reached the pulp in the roots and can lead to various complications. A pulpectomy is a full-fledged root canal procedure that involves the complete removal of the entire pulp tissue. Afterwards, the dentist disinfects the tooth and shapes the canals appropriately. The dentist will also fill the roots and seal them appropriately. The last stage of the treatment involves placing a crown on the infected tooth. A pulpectomy is a complex procedure requiring a high level of expertise and precision.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
A simple root canal procedure typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes, with a complex procedure taking approximately 90 minutes. Although the root canal may sound like a painful procedure, our pediatric dentists take all the necessary steps to make it pain-free before, during, and after treatment.
Before undertaking any of the treatment procedures mentioned above, our dentist will administer local anesthesia to the child to make them comfortable and keep the entire procedure pain-free. They will also recommend ideal pain management medications to help ease the pain after treatment and during the healing process.
What Should You Expect When Your Child is Recovering from the Root Canal?
After the child has undergone root canal treatment, they may experience slight pain in their jaw. This should not worry you, as this pain is only temporary. The child may also experience swelling inside the jaw. This, too, is a normal part of the recovery process.
A critical part of your child’s recovery procedure is maintaining clear communication with your child and their dentist. The dentist will guide you on the best diet for your child and other measures you can take as a parent to help in the recovery process.
When Should I Consider a Root Canal for My Child?
If you wonder if your child needs a root canal procedure, the experts for our dental team have the answers to help you arrive at a decision. Here are some examples of cases where a root canal is a good and necessary choice:
- If the tooth has become infected
- Where the tooth has been damaged by accident or injury
- If tooth loss will likely impede the functionality of the tongue or jaws
- Where tooth loss will lead to speech issues and eating problems
- if a pocket of pus or abscess has formed
At What Age Should My Child Get a Root Canal?
Root canals for children can be done at any age, depending on the state of the tooth. Typically in older children that the primary tooth is close to natural exfoliation, the dentist may recommend extraction of the tooth instead of a root canal therapy. If you think your child will need a root canal, discuss your concerns with a certified pediatric dentist to determine whether the procedure is appropriate for the child.
What are the Risks of a Root Canal?
- Damage to adjacent tissue
- Recurrence of pain, infection and abscess if not performed correctly
- Ulcer of soft tissue around the tooth (i.e. lips, cheeks) due to numb lip, tongue and other soft tissue following the treatment with local anaesthesia.
Get Help from the Experienced Kids Dentists
Handling a paediatric dental emergency can be scary if you don’t know what to do. If you are in Brisbane and need a professional root canal procedure for your child, contact our child-friendly dentists today. At our dental clinic, we use the latest technology and high-quality materials to provide exceptional general dentistry services and quality dental care for adults and children. We genuinely care about our patients and always commit to giving honest advice. Book online or call 07 3343 4869 to make an appointment today for excellent dentist services in Brisbane.