Dental decay does not discriminate by age. While aging does increase the risk of developing dental caries, children are equally as susceptible as older adults for a variety of reasons.
To start with, children aren’t always the most committed to brushing and flossing daily. Those who do, don’t always do such a thorough job. As a result of kids being kids, children's teeth, both primary “baby” teeth and secondary “adult” teeth, tend to take quite a beating.
In cases of advanced decay in children, root canals may be the best course of action to save the damaged tooth and ensure a healthy development of the jaw and mouth and make for a healthy smile.
25% of our nation's children have 80% of the cavities.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal procedure, also known as an endodontic, is essentially a last-ditch attempt to save a tooth suffering from deep deterioration. In cases where root canals are necessary, the process of decay has often penetrated the hard outer enamel and dentin causing inflammation and infection of the soft inner pulp, along with sensitivity and acute dental pain.
If left untreated the infection will eventually destroy the tooth. Perhaps more concerning, infections that reach the blood vessel-rich pulp can spread beyond a tooth’s roots and into the underlying jaw bone and surrounding soft tissues. This possibility is the reason why root canal procedures are so critical. Not only can a root canal procedure save the tooth in question, but it also stops an ongoing bacterial invasion dead its tracks.
5 Signs of Severe Decay in Children
Constant, unexplainable pain in the jaw or mouth may be a sign of severe decay. Exterior signs of decay may not always be visible or obvious upon inspection. Bacteria only needs a small opening or penetration in the hard outer enamel and dentin to wreak havoc on a tooth’s inner pulp as well as causing immense discomfort for a child.
Dental sensitivity, particularly to variation in temperature, can be a sign of advanced decay. Children with cavities will often express discomfort and sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
Swelling and redness is a significant visual clue that something in or around an affected tooth is dangerously amiss.
A bad taste in their mouth
As disgusting as this may sound the bad taste is very often pus and other unfortunate byproducts of a bacterial infection draining into your child’s mouth. Look for signs of swelling and discharge at the gum line near a suspect tooth’s roots. The presence of inflammation, pus or swelling near and around a tooth is always a sure sign to visit Willow Pass Dental Care as soon as possible.
While loose baby teeth are nothing to worry about, unexpectedly loose or unusually mobile teeth coupled with inflammation, pain, sensitivity, or discharge is a sure sign of advanced decay.
Root Canal Treatment Plan for Kids
Root canal procedures for children are similar but not exactly the same as root canals for adults.
First, the area around the affected tooth is numbed with local anesthetics so that the child feels no pain.
Second, the infected inner pulp is completely removed and scraped clean with an endodontic file. Immediately following a tooth being cleaned and the bacteria removed, the tooth is sealed with a rubber material called gutta percha.
Finally, a baby crown or cap is placed over the tooth for resilience and protection.
The root canal procedure is now complete.
Some parents may have questions and concerns about the suitability of root canal procedures for young children, particularly young children with primary “baby” teeth. Even though baby teeth will eventually fall out and give way to adult teeth, allowing dental decay to fester in baby teeth can actually harm the underlying jaw structure and surrounding gums and affect how the adult teeth will come in.
Remember, root canals aren’t just about saving a tooth from destruction, they also contain the spread of bacterial infections. Rescuing baby teeth from advanced decay has other important health and social benefits as well.
Healthy baby teeth prevent dental shifting, help guide adult teeth into their places, and give children the confidence to smile.
It is also helpful to know that root canal procedures are painless when executed correctly. Local anesthetics completely numb the area during the operation while the total removal of the pulp (which contains a tooth’s nerves) ensures that there is minimal pain following the surgery.
Who Can Perform Root Canals on Children?
Pediatric dentists are particularly well-suited for dealing with squirmy toddlers and younger children. These kid-friendly doctors receive an additional 2 to 3 years of training after dental school to learn everything there is to know about how to approach and treat children. Pediatric dentists limit their practice to young children and adolescents in order to provide our youngest family members the best care and attention.
Bring Your Children to Willow Pass Dental Care for a Checkup Today!
Willow Pass Dental Care is dedicated to providing the best pediatric dental care for children. Root canal procedures for children are carefully planned, executed, and monitored by some of the best dental professionals there are. Pain, anxiety, and stress are all kept to a minimum to ensure as smooth and as comfortable a process as possible for your child. Dr. Reza Khazaie and his team will be able to best identify any signs of potential dental problems before they get out of hand, address any pressing dental concerns, and provide you with the care and advice you and your child need to build healthy dental habits.
Looking for a friendly and professional dental office to call home? Look no further than Willow Pass Dental Care. Come and check us out today!