While serious when left untreated, decay and cavities are avoidable dental concerns. However, when major decay impacts dental health as a whole of the tooth, root canal therapy is necessary to protect the tooth and prevent infection from spreading. Though this procedure may seem unnecessary for primary teeth or perhaps too stressful for your child, below are some of the reasons to consider this treatment as a way to safeguard their wellbeing.
Protecting Your Child’s Bite
Losing baby teeth is part of a natural process to make room for permanent teeth. However, if a primary tooth is lost prematurely or requires extraction due to serious decay, the remaining teeth can shift out of place. A tooth lost too early can impact your child’s speech development, ability to chew, and the alignment of their permanent teeth.
Root canal therapy on a primary tooth, also referred to as a pulpotomy, involves removing the decayed dental pulp and nerves, replacing these with a medicated filling that seals the tooth to prevent bacteria from re-entering later on. This will save the natural tooth, allowing it to function until it is time for your child’s permanent teeth to emerge.
Alleviating Discomfort and Pain
Baby teeth are not as strong as permanent teeth. Their internal structures, the nerves especially, are closer to the enamel layer, making them susceptible to decay. Many cavities extend so deep they hit the tooth nerve, causing pain and discomfort. If the decay is too extensive, a filling alone may not save the tooth.
Signs of significant decay include:
- Persistent, unexplained pain
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Swelling and redness around the tooth
- Loose teeth
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, we recommend bringing them in for an examination.
The goal of root canal therapy is to remove the source of the pain and discomfort – the infected dental pulp. Treatment is usually completed by placing a pre-fabricated stainless steel or aesthetic, tooth-colored crown over the treated tooth. This procedure keeps your child teeth healthy, protects their future oral health and bite alignment, and ensures they have full function of their smile.
As soon as they emerge, baby teeth are susceptible to decay, making it important to be proactive in protecting your child’s dental health. At Capitola Kids Dentistry, we strive to protect and maintain the health of all of our patients’ smiles. Visit Dr. Seth Reder and his team today for your child’s next dental appointment!