No parent wants to hear that their child needs a root canal, but here at Coulter & Casper Pediatric Dentistry, we are trained to make this procedure comfortable for you and your child. Our dental team are experts on performing root canals on young patients, and we’ll hold your child’s hand every step of the way.
The goal of a root canal is to repair and save an infected or damaged tooth. The procedure involves the removal of the nerve and the pulp, and then sterilizing and cleaning the inside of the tooth before sealing it. If the tooth is left untreated, it can become terribly infected and could cause abscesses.
When is it Time for a Root Canal?
It may be time for a root canal if your child is experiencing sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, severe pain while chewing and biting, or if they have a chipped or broken tooth. These sensitivities or pain may be caused by an injury, genetics, deep tooth decay, or issues with a previous filling.
What Happens During a Root Canal Procedure?
When a cavity is diagnosed, our dental team will schedule an appointment for your child to have it fixed here in our Washington, D.C. office. Dental x-rays give our team a good understanding of how deep the cavity is inside the tooth before we go in for a procedure.
Once the decay is removed, your child’s dentist can see directly inside of the tooth and assess if a root canal is needed. If the cavity is large enough that it reaches the middle of the tooth, the infected pulp must be removed. The nerve or the pulp of the tooth cannot be left exposed, so a pulpotomy needs to be performed. The pulpotomy removes the top portion of the pulp or nerve. Your child’s dentist will then sterilize the tooth and clean it before placing a stainless-steel crown over the tooth. The crown ensures the tooth is properly sealed and the tooth is restored back to full functionality.
Is a Root Canal Painful?
Your child’s root canal may result in a little more soreness than a regular filling, but thanks to anesthesia, our dentists will keep your child comfortable during the procedure. The area will be numbed prior to beginning the root canal by a numbing cream and local anesthesia. Your child will remain awake during the procedure, but the anesthesia will keep the procedure safe and pain-free.
Post Root Canal Recovery
Following a root canal, your child’s mouth will be numb for approximately 2 to 4 hours. Most children return to school following a root canal, but we recommend not eating until the numbness has completely subsided to avoid biting the cheek, lip, or tongue.