Pediatric dentists like Dr. Patterson try their best to help children avoid dental health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease among US children, and it causes several dental health problems.
One such problem results in the infection of the soft tissue within a baby’s tooth and puts the teeth at severe risk.
We also focus on helping stop such infections and save what we can of your child’s tooth. That’s what a baby root canal achieves. You may also hear the terms pulpectomy or pulpotomy in relation to this procedure.
A baby root canal is essentially a procedure to save a tooth that has suffered much tooth decay and is causing extreme pain or at risk of falling out. Read on to learn more about baby root canals and why they are crucial to your kid’s dental health.
Learning About Tooth Structure and Infected Pulp?
Your teeth, like anything within your body, are complex structures. Teeth have various layers. The outermost is the enamel, and it helps protect the tooth; next up, we have the dentin. Finally, we reach the pulp.
The tooth pulp is the inside part of the tooth. It’s responsible for forming dentin, defending against microbes, and acting as the sensory part of the tooth. It contains blood vessels and nerve endings that make it extra sensitive, irrigate it, and keep it alive.
Unfortunately, given sufficient time, the outermost layers of your kid’s teeth begin to erode in the presence of harmful bacteria. If your kids don’t keep proper dental hygiene, they risk leaving food particles in their mouths.
When bacteria in the mouth have sugars from food left-overs and drinks at their disposal, they produce acids that damage the enamel. After a prolonged period (weeks or months), this acid permanently destroys the enamel, leaving a cavity or hole in the tooth.
This process leaves the dentin and dental pulp vulnerable to infection from bacteria. Lack of dental hygiene and negligence to treat cavities are major causes of infected pulp.
Does My Child Need Root Canal Treatment?
When cavities reach the pulp, children will often be increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures. Hot or cold foods and beverages will cause discomfort. They may feel a toothache or feel pain when eating. These are some of the milder symptoms that your kid requires professional dental help.
If your child complains of throbbing pain without provocation, the infected pulp may have resulted in a deep abscess. Don’t ignore these symptoms if your child starts noticing them. Infected pulp can quickly progress if left untreated, leading to life-threatening complications like sepsis.
You should immediately seek help if your kid complains about any of these symptoms.
What Are the Steps of a Root Canal Procedure?
If your child is suffering from an infected tooth pulp, there are two options: pulpectomy or pulpotomy. A pulpotomy is a procedure that only removes the infected part of the pulp in a primary tooth to avoid extracting it.
The pediatric dentist will leave as much of the pulp intact as possible. We would recommend such dental procedures for children whose teeth are still developing and need the pulp to produce dentin.
However, some situations necessitate the removal of the entire pulp. In such cases, your kid will require what is known as root canal treatment or pulpectomy. As long as there is a functioning tooth to retain space for the permanent teeth, a pulpectomy can be a viable option.
Going Over the Steps
Here’s what you and your child can expect during a pulpotomy or pulpectomy procedure:
- Administering a local anesthetic: Because the pulp contains sensitive nerves, the pediatric dentist may administer a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and surrounding area. However, a root canal should not hurt any more than a regular dental filling – in other words, not at all!
- Isolating the tooth: To prevent the infected tooth from spreading bacteria to other teeth, the pediatric dentist will use a rubber sheet or dam to isolate it.
- Removing the infected area: The pediatric dentist will create a small hole in the tooth to remove any parts of the infected tooth. Once they reach the pulp, they will remove the affected nerve and pulp.
- Sterilizing the tooth: Even after we’ve dealt with the infected tissue, there may be lingering bacteria. The pediatric dentist will apply a special medication to ensure the area is clean and infection-free.
- Placing a restoration: Once the specialist sterilizes the area, the pediatric dentist will need to protect the tooth with a restorative treatment. Depending on the patient’s case, we can install a dental crown or use a root canal filling to maintain the tooth’s integrity. This will allow the tooth to function and look like it did before.
How Can I Help Prevent The Need For Endodontic Treatment?
The best way to keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy is by maintaining a good dental hygiene routine and eating a nutritious diet!
Cavities won’t get the chance to form if your child removes plaque by brushing and flossing daily. Limit their sugar intake and make sure they’re getting food with plenty of vitamins and minerals to keep their teeth strong. Follow these common tips to keep your child’s mouth healthy:
- Avoid sipping on too many sugary beverages
- Drink water frequently to flush away food debris
- Brush after every meal or twice a day
- Floss every day
- Limit the consumption of sugary foods
- Use fluoridated dental products
- Reduce excessive snacking
A Professional to Help With Baby Root Canal Therapy
Last but not least, make sure your child is visiting the pediatric dentist in Aurora regularly. Most patients should be seeing their dentist every 6 months or twice a year, but this varies with each individual.
The pediatric dentist will identify, treat, and prevent dental issues before they progress to serious problems. If you need to book an appointment for your child, contact Epic Dentistry for Kids in Aurora, CO! We’re happy to help.