There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain, and tooth pain is no exception. A cavity can certainly be uncomfortable, but one that involves the nerve –– otherwise known as pulp –– of the tooth can cause severe pain.

Although the pain may actually subside for a period of time using ibuprofen or antibiotics, it will eventually return unless the tooth is properly treated. When the nerve of the tooth is infected, your child needs an endodontist to treat the tooth and restore his or her dental health.

At Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, we recognize the importance of baby teeth and do all we can to keep these teeth intact rather than have them prematurely extracted. For this reason, your child’s pediatric dentist may recommend root canal therapy as an option to save a baby tooth affected by infection or extensive decay.

Not sure what to expect? Read on to learn why your child might need a root canal as well as the ins and outs of pediatric root canals.

Why Your Child Might Need a Root Canal

Not every little cavity or injury will require a pediatric root canal, but it is important to know what to look for when your child has a toothache. If your child is experiencing sensitivity to temperatures or sugary food, extreme pain in a tooth, or if the tooth has been cracked or chipped, your pediatric dentist might recommend treating it with root canal therapy.

The symptoms listed above are signs of tooth decay or a dental cavity that has deepened into the center of the tooth, known as the pulp. If this occurs, your child will require a root canal. Along with tooth decay and cavities, dental injuries and abscessed teeth are other reasons your child may need a root canal.

What to Expect During Pediatric Root Canals

If your pediatric dentist determines that a root canal is the best treatment, it’s perfectly normal for your child to feel nervous about the procedure. Talking through what to expect during the appointment is a great way to prepare your child for treatment and calm their nerves.

We strongly recommend seeing an endodontist for your child’s root canal. An endodontist is a dentist with advanced training in root canal therapy, and is the most qualified dental professional for the job.

Your doctor here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado will likely order dental x-rays to check the location and size of the tooth infection. When it’s time to start the root canal therapy, the dental team will give your child local anesthesia to help prevent any pain during the procedure.

If your child has an existing filling on the tooth, the endodontist will remove it for the root canal. Then, the hygienist will place a rubber sheet placed around the child’s tooth to help keep saliva out of the root canal. This is important because saliva can contain harmful bacteria, and the “raincoat” will also help keep the child from swallowing pieces of tooth or liquid. The endodontist may need to drill into the crown to get to the root canal and pulp, which is the portion that the dentist will remove and replace. Once the procedure is completed, a dental crown will be placed over the affected tooth to protect it from further damage.

Differences Between a Pediatric Root Canal and an Adult Root Canal

Pediatric root canals are much faster and less painful than adult root canals. This is because dentists and endodontists only remove the infected pulp on the surface nerve structure, meaning that no additional special instruments are needed to remove the pulp from the tooth’s roots.

Many parents have questions about how the tooth will fall out once a crown is placed over the top. Luckily, a crown will not affect the incoming adult tooth at all. The tooth will become loose and fall out just like any of your child’s other natural teeth.

Here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado, our doctors are passionate about saving patients’ smiles regardless of age. With offices located in Pueblo and Colorado City, our team is ready to restore your child’s smile with root canal therapy. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation for your child!