A root canal probably isn't a procedure that you thought your child would have to have at a young age. In fact, if you're like most people, it probably seems a bit odd to you that a dentist would recommend doing a root canal on a baby tooth. However, baby root canals are actually fairly common and there are several reasons why you should let your family dentist do the procedure. Learn more about baby root canals and why they are a good option.

Why Are Baby Root Canals Needed?

It's common for parents to assume that a child wouldn't need to have a root canal completed on a baby tooth because eventually that tooth will fall out and be replaced with a permanent tooth. However, growing permanent teeth isn't a quick process. Typically, kids lose their primary teeth between the ages of six and 12. So, if your child is five years old, the problem might not resolve itself naturally for another seven years. Also, if the pulp of the root becomes exposed during that time, your child could end up being in a lot of pain. Having a root canal gets rid of the nerves in the tooth so that you don't have to worry about your child constantly battling toothaches. After the nerves are removed, the tooth is capped so that it will stay in place until it falls out naturally.

Can the Tooth Be Extracted Instead?

Depending on where the tooth is located, extracting it could be a good option if you don't want your child to have a root canal. However, when your dentist pulls the problem tooth, it will leave a gap in your child's mouth until the permanent tooth grows. That means your child could have a gap in his or her teeth for a long time, and missing teeth can cause several problems, including:

  • Damage to the jawbone or the gums resulting from added pressure around the exposed area.
  • Difficulty with brushing or flossing -- depending on the tooth's location.
  • Problems chewing food properly.
  • Problems with speech.
  • Insecurities about having a gap in teeth.

What are the Benefits of Baby Root Canals?

When a tooth that requires a root canal goes untreated, it puts your child at risk for:

  • Puss-filled abscesses at the base of the tooth.
  • The tooth cracking or chipping.
  • Extreme pain from exposed roots.

Fortunately, you can avoid all of this by allowing your dentist to complete the baby root canal. Baby root canals also:

  • Restore the tooth to its original condition.
  • Look 100 percent natural when completed.
  • Help prevent the need for continued dental work.

Allowing your child to have any type of dental or medical procedure completed is a big decision. However, a baby root canal isn't a difficult procedure to complete. So, before you decide that your child isn't having a root canal, weigh the pros and cons of the procedure with your dentist.

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