If your child has a serious cavity in a baby tooth, their dentist may recommend a root canal and crown to preserve the tooth structure and prevent future orthodontic problems. But does it always make sense to have a crown placed on a tooth your child may lose soon? When is an extraction the preferable option? Read on to learn more about these two dental options and what you should consider when scheduling your child's next dental procedure.
Why a Root Canal on a Baby Tooth?
For those whose children are getting close to the age at which they should begin losing teeth, the idea of putting them under "twilight sleep" or another type of sedation to perform a root canal may not seem to make much sense. And if the tooth isn't causing any pain or swelling, does it even need a filling? After all, it's likely that your child will lose the tooth sooner rather than later, right?
But while many children begin losing their front teeth around ages 6 or 7, it can take up to an additional 5 years (or more) to lose back molars. This means that if your child has a cavity in one of these molars, it can be crucial to repair this cavity as soon as possible—either through a filling, a root canal and crown (if the damage is severe), or even an extraction. Leaving a cavity unrepaired, even if it seems like a minor one, can potentially lead to an infection or another serious illness as bacteria from inside the mouth enters the bloodstream.
Should Your Child Have a Root Canal, Extraction, or Something Else?
Generally speaking, a root canal (or pulpotomy) is preferable if the cavity is deep enough to touch the surface of the nerve, between two teeth, or is especially large. In these situations, a traditional filling often won't be enough to prevent future tooth pain or sensitivity. This will usually require your child to take an oral sedative that puts him or her into "twilight sleep," or a state in which they're awake but have no memory of the actual procedure.
Meanwhile, an extraction—while usually less expensive than a root canal—will require at least a twilight level of sedation for the vast majority of children. Some children who are afraid of dental visits may need to be put under general anesthesia so that they can remain still during the entire procedure.
If you can afford a root canal, this is usually the preferable option. Not only does it require a lighter level of sedation than an extraction, but it helps your child retain a normal biting surface to prevent damage to (or shifting of) your child's other teeth. Talk with a dentist like those at Thornley Dental about what the right procedure is for your child.Share
28 February 2019
Do you have a different doctor from your spouse? Does your child see a pediatrician? Most families have different medical health providers for different members of the family. This makes sense in most cases, but did you know that you can find a dentist who will treat every person in the family from a baby to a senior? I'm a manager or a family dentist, and in this blog you will learn why a family dentist is a great idea. I will tell you the many advantages of taking every family member to the same dentist, and I will give you tips of finding the right dental office for your family.