Baby Root Canals

Children's Dentistry - baby Root Canal

What is a “baby root canal”?

A “baby root canal”, also known as a pulpotomy or pulpectomy is the most commonly needed nerve treatment for a baby tooth. The treatment is performed when a deep cavity in a child’s baby tooth goes into the nerve or pulp of the tooth. When this happens, a pulpotomy root canal is recommended to save the tooth. It is not the same type of procedure as an adult root canal. This procedure is fairly common, quick and necessary to preserve the baby tooth.

How is a “baby root canal” performed?

The purpose of a baby root canal is to maintain the integrity and health of a baby tooth and the supporting gum tissue and bone. It is an important part of preventing infection and maintaining the health of developing adult teeth. First, the area is numbed and your dentist will remove the diseased pulp tissue. Then the tooth is sterilized, disinfected and a calming agent is given. Final restoration will take place with a stainless steel crown that protects the tooth and maintains space until the tooth is ready to be lost.

What are the advantages of a “baby root canal”?

Pulpotomies have a very high success rate, up to 90%. If the tooth has been symptomatic, causing pressure, pain or sensitivity, this procedure will help alleviate the pain. It also allows for the tooth to be preserved until it is ready to fall out naturally, and it helps maintains the space for permanent teeth to come in.

What are the disadvantages?

Occasionally, the infection is so advanced that the nerve of the tooth will not respond to the treatment. In these rare cases, the only alternative is to extract the tooth and place a space maintainer. Your dentist will discuss your child’s situation during diagnosis and determine the best possible treatment. However, if it is possible to save the baby tooth, this is the best alternative.