Root canals are intimidating for adults, even more so for children. Kid’s Choice Dental would not undertake this procedure unless necessary. Our dental team is proficient in providing root canals for kids in Washington State, and we do everything we can to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. If you have any concerns, do not hesitate to discuss them with us, we are here to help.
Both baby teeth and permanent teeth may need a root canal. While it is true that baby teeth do fall out on their own, an early loss can be a cause for concern. It can result in difficulty chewing or speech impediments. A root canal can help save the baby tooth until it is ready to come out when the permanent teeth begin to push through.
The procedure to remove diseased pulp from a tooth is a root canal. Pulp is the tissue within the tooth that houses the blood vessels and nerves. The root of each tooth is what helps to secure each tooth to the jaw, along with the gum and periodontal tendons. Root canals are often performed when there is an abscess caused by infection, or when the tooth is too damaged by decay or trauma to be fixed by filling.
As a parent there are a few things you can do to make the root canal less scary for your child. Talking over what may happen and what to expect is one way to make the situation feel more familiar. Let your child ask questions, and if you don’t know the answer, the two of you together can talk to your dentist, or check online. Let your child know that this is a routine procedure while acknowledging it is scary and they will get help with any pain.
Your dentist will prepare for the procedure by taking an x-ray of the affected tooth. This allows for the dentist to determine the root structure and the scope of the infection. Any fillings will be removed from the tooth and a rubber sheet will be placed around the tooth. This sheet will help prevent any saliva from entering the exposed root chamber and prevent any swallowing of liquid or tooth fragments.
Using a drill, the dentist will create a hole at the crown to provide access to the root and pulp. Once the dental provider has access he will insert another set of tools to remove the pulp with a cleaning liquid. Another x-ray may be performed to ensure all the diseased pulp has been removed. The dentist will then remove any remaining pulp and flush the empty tooth with a fluid that kills germs, ensuring the area is sanitary.
Once the root canal is dry, the dentist will fill the tooth with either a steroidal paste to reduce swelling or another filling material. The final step is the placement of a crown, whether temporary or permanent. If temporary, it will be replaced in a week or so with permanent crown.
Some pain after the root canal is typical. It is usually gone in a couple of hours. An NSAID or over-the-counter pain reliever can help alleviate the discomfort. Have your child avoid eating while the tooth and surrounding area remain numb to avoid a biting incident. Once the area is no longer numb, eating soft foods is okay, but anything hard should be avoided until the area is no longer sensitive. Also avoid hot or cold foods to avoid irritation.
If there is a temporary crown, avoid eating anything which may dislodge the crown, such as hard foods and sticky foods. This includes flossing around the tooth with the crown. Once the dentist places the permanent crown, wait at least 24 hours before flossing. Additionally, rinsing with salt water can help keep the area clean and reduce inflammation. This may also help with any lingering discomfort.
Keep an eye out for an increase in pain, feeling of pressure, excessive swelling or fever. These symptoms are an indication an infection may have developed. An allergic reaction may also develop. If there is a rash or the area becomes itchy, call your dental office immediately so they can address these concerns.
When it comes to root canals for kids in Washington State, being confident in your dentist and his team is important. Kid’s Choice Dental is a kid-friendly office with compassionate and knowledgeable professionals. When it comes to your child’s health and smile, we are the best partner you can choose. Contact us today for an appointment.