A dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your child undergo root canal treatment to save a tooth that has a severe infection or has been badly damaged. As such, a root canal can repair a tooth that would otherwise have to be extracted.
Furthermore, to perform the root canal, the dentist will need to extract the pulp, which is the part of the tooth that is infected, and then clean and sterilize the tooth before filling and sealing your child’s tooth. Here, we will discuss in detail what a root canal treatment for children consists of, as well as how general dentistry services in Toronto can help your child enjoy a healthier and whiter smile.
Root Canal Treatment Options For Children: Pulpotomy & Pulpectomy
A pulpotomy is a dental procedure that involves extracting only the coronal section of the pulp that is affected. That is, the infected component of the pulp is extracted entirely so that the healthy pulp tissue in the pulp chamber is allowed to remain in the roots.
In addition, a pulpotomy is recommended for teeth where the root apex remains open, which is quite common with immature teeth. A pulpotomy may also be suggested by your oral surgeon if the infection has not yet reached the roots, or if the dentin is very thin.
A pulpotomy is also less expensive than a pulpectomy, as well as faster in most cases. The pulp is also allowed to remain intact so that the tooth will be given time to heal and mature over time. However, as with most things in life, pulpotomies aren’t without possible drawbacks.
That is, bacteria may sometimes seep through and deeply penetrate the nerve, which will cause the pulpotomy to fail. Also, if your child has undergone a pulpotomy, then they will also require a stainless steel crown to be placed on the treated tooth so that it can maintain its structural integrity and strength.
As for a pulpectomy, it is typically performed on adults who need a root canal. Here, the coronal component, as well as the radial section of the pulp, is extracted. That is, the entire infected part of the pulp is taken out and then filled. The result is that the tooth will be salvaged instead of extracted.
In terms of the pulpectomy procedure, the first appointment will consist of examining your child’s entire oral cavity. In some cases, they may take radiographs, and, if the periodontist notices a periapical abscess or pus, they will prescribe some antibiotics for your child.
During the second appointment, they will apply a topical anesthetic so that your child will feel no pain. A hole is then made so that the periodontist can access the pulp cavity and remove the infected components with the broaches. Next, all of the infected tissue will be drilled out using very sophisticated files. The canal will then be irrigated very carefully and then be filled with some form of inert material.
In terms of the root canal filling material that they may use, they may opt for vitapex, zinc oxide eugenol, or a pulpdent sealer for the root canal. In any event, the final step of the pulpectomy procedure is to use some dental cement in order to temporarily crown your child’s treated tooth until a permanent solution can be made and placed.
In addition, the benefits of a pulpectomy are that they can help maintain the required amount of space needed for your child’s permanent teeth to erupt: This is because the goal of a pulpectomy, when performed correctly, is to retain the child’s tooth in their mouth.
Moreover, if your child undergoes a pulpectomy, then they will be able to enjoy the normal functioning of their teeth without pain or discomfort. In fact, some infants or toddlers may damage the anterior section of their teeth from prolonged or frequent nursing bottle use, which may lead to cavities: For school infants or toddlers, a pulpectomy can help them learn the proper aesthetics and phonetics.
In terms of disadvantages, some children may react negatively to the topical anesthetic that is applied over their gums, albeit this is extremely rare. Pain may also reoccur if a piece of infected tissue is accidentally left inside your child’s tooth, although this too is very uncommon. Finally, if a crown is not used to replace the tooth, then tooth discoloration may result due to the types of dental cement used.
How do I Prepare My Child For a Root Canal?
The extent of the root canal treatment will differ depending on the severity of the damage. Ergo, your child’s oral health provider will discuss what to expect with you, and you will then need to relay that information to your child using words that your child will understand.
You should also reassure your child that the procedure will not hurt because they will be given either a topical anesthetic or will be asleep during the procedure. Your child may also be able to listen to their favorite songs on their phone so that they will not hear any startling or unpleasant noises while the dentist is working on their teeth.
What are the Risks of a Root Canal?
Sometimes the cleaning solution that is used to clean the root may seep into adjacent tissues, which may cause an infection, bruising, or swelling. Furthermore, the tip of a dental apparatus may become wedged inside the root canal, or your child may accidentally swallow the tip if it falls into their mouth. While rare, your child may develop an abnormal tissue opening, known as a fistula, between the sinus and the root of the tooth.