Root Canals for Kids

It might be the two most frightening words in all of dentistry. Root canal. Just the thought of one can make people cringe. Can you imagine trying to perform this procedure on a child? It just wouldn’t be possible. Luckily, all baby teeth fall out, so it’s not a necessary practice for children. Right? Wrong.

Root canals for kids are quite common. However, the nightmarish procedure explained in the previous paragraph, is not all that nightmarish. These procedures have become common, and they’re a fairly simple practice. Dentists aren’t using hand drills to reach the infection in your mouth. It’s simply not the case any more. Technology has expanded to the point where drilling a hole into a tooth is not that big of a deal. Not to mention, local anesthesia can numb any pain that might be felt during the process.

However, the important question remains at hand. Why do children need to receive a root canal if the tooth is going to fall out anyway? It’s a reasonable question. Why pay for the procedure? Why run the risk of frightening your child away from the dentist? Well, the first thing you need to understand is that a root canal is an infection, just like a common cold. If your child is suffering from sneezing and a stuffy nose for too long, you’re not going to let it run its course. After awhile you would go to a doctor and get some sort of medication that is prescribed to defeat it.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a pill to stop a tooth infection. The parts of the tooth that are infected need to be removed. Some of those parts include the pulp and the nerve itself. That’s why a scary drill is used. The enamel of the tooth is the hardest substance in the human body. If it were possible, dentists would gently scrape it away, but that’s not going to happen.

The most important reason is you don’t want the infection to spread. It must be dealt with, like the common cold, before it becomes an even bigger issue. It’s much easier to save the tooth via a root canal than have it removed. If you’re going to have the tooth removed then you must first have it pulled, then have a mold taken of the child’s mouth, and finally have a space maintainer put in in order to save enough room for the adult tooth to poke through the gum line. Of course, root canals or having the tooth removed is still a better option than doing nothing. If you choose to do nothing the infection will spread, allowing more decay to occur in your child’s mouth.

It’s understandable for your child to be anxious about the procedure. However, at Collegeville Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dentists are wonderful with children and even better when it comes to handling delicate dental work. We will preserve your child’s perfect smile all the while reducing any fear they have while sitting in that dentist chair.

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