The root canal is one dental procedure that has a particularly bad reputation, but the truth is that many people aren’t even really sure what a root canal is or what to expect from the procedure. Modern root canal treatments are no more complex than many other dental treatments and thanks to the effectiveness of anesthetic and the option of sedation, they are not painful and needn’t be in the least bit traumatic.
You may never have heard of a child having a root canal before, but this certainly doesn’t mean that the treatment isn’t necessary. Root canals are needed when the nerve inside of a tooth has been damaged or has become infected, which is a problem that can affect kids as well as adults. If these issues occur, a root canal is the only effective treatment that can save teeth that would otherwise require extraction.
A root canal is typically carried out using a local anesthetic, but sedation may be available to keep your child calm and still. Your child may also be given antibiotics to help prevent further infection caused by the bacteria causing the issue, although antibiotics alone are not effective in treating root canal infections. A small hole will be drilled into the tooth to access the root canal. Special tools are then inserted into the root canals to remove the diseased pulp and clean the root canal chamber. Once satisfied that all of the diseased pulp has been removed and the root canal is clean, it will be dried, and a filling will be put inside the root. The tooth will be covered with a temporary or permanent crown. A temporary crown is usually used if there is any possibility that there is any infection left, which will be checked a week later. If all traces of infection have been removed, a permanent crown will be placed. If not, the treatment may need to be carried out again.
Children aren’t always able to communicate their needs or any problems that they are experiencing clearly. Nevertheless, there are some signs to look out for that would indicate that your child may need a root canal treatment. These include:
Gum tenderness and swelling
General pain around the infected tooth
Mild fever and swollen lymph nodes
The affected tooth may seem loose
Bleeding or pus from the gum around the affected tooth
The tooth looks darker than those next to it
If you suspect that your child may need a root canal, or if they are experiencing any painful or debilitating dental symptoms, it is important to get them checked out by your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner a diagnosis is made and treatment is provided, the quicker their unpleasant symptoms can be resolved, and permanent dental damage can be prevented.
If you have any further questions about root canal treatment for children, please speak to our expert pediatric dental team who will be happy to assist you.