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Root canals are dental procedures that remove all or a portion of one’s nerve pulp, which is found at the center of a tooth. This pulp can become infected for several reasons, including from tooth decay or injury. Pediatric pulp therapy, or root canals for kids, is used in these cases to treat and restore a damaged tooth.

Maintaining the health of your child’s teeth – even baby teeth – is important to ensure proper chewing ability, speech development and growth of permanent teeth. When the area around your child’s tooth becomes inflamed or injured, it may be a sign that your child has experienced damage to his or her pulp on the inner cavity of the tooth.

Here are some signs that a root canal may be needed:

Unexpected pain around a tooth
Unexplained looseness or shifting tooth
Redness or inflammation around a tooth
Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures around a tooth

There are typically two different types of root canal treatments for kids: pulpotomy and pulpectomy treatments. The type of root canal treatment for your child will depend on several different factors, such as the position of the tooth, amount of damage to the nerve root, and general health of the child. Here are the details about each treatment type:

Pulpotomy

If the pulp root remains healthy and only the pulp tip is damaged, your dentist may keep the healthy pulp root intact. A pulpotomy treatment is a versatile treatment that leaves the healthy portion of one’s nerve root alone, while treating only the affected pulp area and surrounding decay. The damaged portion that is removed is then filled with a biocompatible material, which stops the spread of infection and soothes the damaged pulp area. Often, a dental crown is placed atop the entire tooth after the root canal treatment, which minimizes the risk of fracture and strengthens the existing tooth structure beneath.

Pulpectomy

When a child’s tooth is severely decayed and the entire pulp area, including both the root and tip, is damaged, a pulpectomy may be required. A pulpectomy treatment cleanses the entire root canal which is then filled to prevent further damage. In children with primary teeth, the material used for filling is reabsorbed into the natural tooth structure, while a non-reabsorbable material is used for permanent teeth. Once the cavity is filled, a crown may be placed atop the tooth to provide extra structural support for the impacted tooth. Pulpectomy procedures are more extensive than pulpotomy procedures and may require several office visits to complete.

If your child is complaining about swelling, sensitivity or pain around a tooth, contact our office to schedule an appointment with us today so we can get to the root of the problem quickly and effectively!

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