Is a Root Canal Necessary for My Child?

Group of kids smiling on a sunny day root canal Hudsonville MI pediatric dentist

Our Hudsonville pediatric dentist shares your desire to keep your child’s smile as healthy as possible. Because of this, we may recommend that a root canal be performed if a damaged or infected tooth is found during an oral exam.

Here’s what you need to know about childhood root canals and when this form of treatment is needed.

Reasons for a Root Canal on Baby Teeth

Primary, or baby, teeth fall out eventually so it may seem pointless to even worry about treating them for decay. However, baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, aid in speed development, and can impact your child’s overall health.

Baby teeth also are not exempt from injury and infection. Just like with adult teeth, these little starter teeth need treatment to prevent further oral health problems from developing. If it is in your child’s best interest, our pediatric dentist will strongly suggest a root canal procedure or pulpectomy.

What Is a Pulpectomy?

In adults, a pulpectomy is the first portion of the root canal process. Severely infected baby teeth are saved using a pulpectomy as it involves the removal of all pulp from a tooth’s crown and roots. In the pediatric dentistry world, pulpectomies are often called “baby root canals”.

Containing nerves and blood vessels, pulp is the soft tissue that fills the tooth’s roots. When it becomes damaged or diseased, pulp removal by our pediatric dentist is necessary as soon as possible to avoid tooth extraction and additional discomfort.

Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For

If your child is experiencing pain and you suspect something is wrong with their teeth, please contact our Hudsonville pediatric dental office. Our dentist can examine your child’s mouth and determine whether a root canal is the best course of action.

Common symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal include:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods/drinks
  • Tenderness, swelling, or redness in the gums and around the affected tooth
  • Pimple-like bump on the gums (can mean an abscess has formed)
  • Pain ranging from a mild, dull ache to sharp and intense

What to Expect During the Root Canal Procedure

Be sure to brief your child on their upcoming procedure and let them know in understandable language that our pediatric dentist is going to make their tooth healthy and strong. We can calmly reassure your child before getting started as well and provide laughing gas if needed for nerves.

X-rays may be necessary to give our dentist an idea of how bad the infection is plus the shape and size of the tooth’s root canal. We’ll also administer local anesthesia to the area to prevent any pain during the procedure.

Once the area is numb, our dentist will place a rubber sheet around your child’s tooth to keep saliva out of the root canal and to stop pieces of tooth or liquid from being swallowed. We’ll then drill into the tooth to access the infected pulp and completely remove all that’s there.

Our pediatric dentist will finish the procedure by cleaning the open root canal, drying it, and filling the canal with a material designed to be reabsorbed into the body before the permanent tooth grows. If your child has a root canal procedure performed on a permanent tooth, our dentist may need to place a dental crown for added protection.

We’ll Help Strengthen Your Child’s Smile

Our pediatric dentist in Hudsonville, MI, can save your child’s affected and vulnerable teeth with a root canal procedure. Relieve dental pain today by calling Hudsonville Dental Kids at (616) 209-4039 to schedule an appointment.