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Does your child need a root canal treatment, or pulpotomy, to save a damaged primary tooth? Are you wondering why children even get root canals? The truth is root canals – which save teeth that have a bacterial infection or inflammation in the tooth pulp – prevent primary teeth from being lost prematurely.

The early loss of a baby tooth can cause issues with speech development, chewing and the alignment of the permanent teeth still developing. Primary teeth are essential space holders for the emerging adult teeth coming in. When a tooth is lost, the surrounding teeth will shift to fill in this space and cause problems with bite alignment.

Signs of Tooth Damage

If your child displays any of the following signs, they may need to be seen and treated:

– Sudden toothache
– Throbbing, constant or intermittent tooth pain
– Sensitivity to hot or cold liquids, or certain foods (sweet, tart, spicy, etc.)
– Pain when chewing or speaking

If a primary tooth has pulpal (nerve) damage or a newly erupted adult tooth has nerve damage, your child may require a root canal treatment (a pulpotomy). Whether the pulp has been damaged because of trauma or cavities, the tooth still needs to be addressed. Aside from being space holders that allow the emerging teeth to come in properly, a bad bite or malocclusion may arise since the teeth and jaw bone are still growing into place.

A pulpotomy works by removing only part of the nerve, unlike an adult root canal where all of the pulp tissue is taken out. The good news is when working with a baby tooth, the treatment is quicker and not as invasive as adult treatment. Only the diseased tissue is taken out, and the healthy tissue is protected. A baby crown will be placed afterward so the tooth can still hold space for the adult tooth.

Preparing Your Child

You can prepare your child for a pulpotomy by reminding them how much better they will feel once the tooth is taken care of and their pain is relieved! When talking to them about the treatment, stay upbeat and use calming language. Focus on the benefits they will receive, reassuring they will be made comfortable throughout, and you will be by their side. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, please feel free to give us a call today!