Root Canal treatment is also called endodontic therapy and involves treating the pulp of a tooth. The pulp is located in the center of the tooth and contains the nerves and blood vessels that supply essential nutrients and oxygen to the growing tooth. If the pulp becomes inflamed or injured or is infected, endodontic treatment helps to save the tooth, removing the inflamed pulp so the tooth can be restored. Many adults are already familiar with the idea of root canal treatment or therapy, but in pediatric dentistry this treatment can also be useful for saving children’s teeth.
Wherever possible, Dr. Khabensky DDS and Dr. Kim DDS prefer to try to save baby teeth, so they remain in place until adult teeth erupt. We only suggest removing a baby tooth if the dental pulp is severely infected or too badly damaged to save. If the surrounding gum or bone is affected by an infection, our dentists advise that removal might be the best option as well.
Your child might need a kid’s root canal treatment if they develop pain in a tooth for no apparent reason. Other symptoms include having a tooth that is very sensitive to temperature changes and which could make it uncomfortable or even painful for your child to eat hot or cold foods. If your child breaks a tooth, it can expose the pulp, so it becomes inflamed or infected by bacteria naturally present in the mouth.
Some parents may question specialized kids dentists why it is necessary to treat a baby tooth that may soon fall out and whether it is better just to remove it. Baby or primary teeth remain in the mouth for quite a few years before they eventually fall out to make room for the permanent adult teeth.
Even though baby teeth are not permanent, they have an important role to play in helping your child’s growth and development. Without baby teeth, your child could struggle to eat properly, and poor nutrition could affect their health. It’s also very difficult to speak clearly without teeth and especially when you are just learning.
Baby teeth have another important role because they keep open enough space for the permanent teeth to erupt. When a child loses their baby teeth to soon, the neighboring teeth can move into the space left behind. Unwanted tooth movements can prevent permanent teeth from coming in properly or could cause them to come through crooked.
At our Pediatric Dentistry Center in Brooklyn, wherever possible, we prefer to try to save baby teeth, so they remain in place until they are ready to be shed naturally in preparation for adult teeth to erupt.
If your child does have a severely infected primary tooth, our pediatric dentists will always discuss all possible options. We can provide you with all the information needed so you can decide whether to have the tooth removed or to try to save it with a root canal for kids. We only suggest removing a baby tooth if the dental pulp is severely infected or too badly damaged to save.
The decision depends on the extent of the damage to the tooth. If the surrounding gum or bone is affected by an infection, removal might be the best option. Your child’s medical health also makes a difference as if they have any serious medical problems, then an infection could worsen these problems.
Also, there is a chance the tooth could become reinfected after a kid’s root canal treatment. However, if your child is healthy and removing the tooth would affect their ability to eat or speak or could affect the development of their permanent tooth, we will almost certainly suggest they have a root canal for kids.
Pulp treatment for primary teeth is a little different compared to adult root canal therapy.
If your child needs a pulp treatment for primary teeth, it will be one of two types performed on baby teeth. The treatment prescribed by our pediatric dentists depends on whether we think the pulp is vital and is living, or if it is nonvital where the pulp has died.
If the pulp is living, we can perform a vital pulp therapy treatment. Firstly, we will need to perform a test on the tooth to determine if the dental pulp is still alive. The test will show us if the pulp responds to temperature changes and has sensation and blood flow. We must also make sure the tooth is not abscessed and that there is no bone loss around the tooth.
There are four different types of vital pulp treatments for primary teeth:
During a vital pulpotomy treatment, our pediatric dentist will remove what is called the coronal pulp. The coronal pulp is the part of the pulp situated in the tooth crown, visible above the gumline. The part of the pulp in the tooth root remains intact as it is still living.
This root canal treatment for kids may be suitable if your child has a cavity that has reached the dental pulp, or if the tooth has taken a blow that has damaged the coronal pulp. Although a pulpotomy is normally a pulp treatment for primary teeth, a child’s adult teeth may also be suitable for this procedure if their adult teeth haven’t yet grown a full-length root.
When tooth decay has come close to the dental pulp but hasn’t directly affected it, we can remove the decayed portion and place a protective material in the tooth before permanently filling it. The protective material prevents the pulp from becoming exposed and also stimulates healing.
If the tooth decay has exposed the dental pulp, a direct pulp cap is used. This treatment is only suitable when a tiny portion of the pulp is exposed.
A protective base protects teeth with decay, but where the decay isn’t directly affecting the dental pulp. We remove the decayed portion of the tooth, placing a protective base in the cavity before filling the cavity with a suitable restorative material.
The second form of treatment is called a pulpectomy, which is essentially a root canal treatment in kids.
A pulpectomy is a pulp treatment for primary teeth and which can also be used on a child’s permanent teeth. It is performed on teeth that are no longer alive, meaning the dental pulp has died and could be extensively infected and even abscessed. The dental pulp is considered ‘non-vital.’ Your child may need a pulpectomy if their pulp is too badly damaged and has already died or cannot be saved.
During a pulpectomy or pulp treatment for primary teeth, our pediatric dentist will remove the coronal pulp in the tooth crown and pulp material extending into the tooth roots.
We thoroughly clean the inside of the tooth before filling it with a special restorative material. The material used for this treatment for primary teeth is different from the material used to restore a permanent tooth.
When the adult tooth is ready to come through, the body begins to absorb the tooth root. The restorative material used to fill the primary tooth is also absorbed harmlessly so that the primary tooth can fall out naturally.
After a root canal for kids, it’s usually necessary to cover or crown the tooth entirely. We can place a stainless-steel crown that may have a tooth-colored facing for a more aesthetic effect. Alternatively, we can provide white crowns for primary teeth.
If your child already has their adult teeth, and they have fully grown tooth roots, they may need a conventional root canal treatment.
After removing the pulp and cleaning out the root canals in the tooth roots, the tooth is disinfected and filled with a permanent restorative material. We can then place a suitable crown to cover the entire tooth, helping to prevent reinfection.
In our kids dentistry center in Brooklyn we offer the latest root canal treatments to save baby teeth. Come visit our center and meet Dr. Khabensky DDS and Dr. Kim DDS. Our doctors provide personalized and comprehensive care for kids, teens and use natural techniques and organic measures whenever possible.
Pediatric Dentistry Center
2148 Ocean Ave, Ste 401A
Brooklyn, NY 11229