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Root canal treatment can be quite scary for adults to go through and so it is no surprise when they are shocked at the thought of their young children having to go through it as well! The reality is that root canal treatment for children is often the best course of action, a procedure that needs to be followed so that they can keep their teeth for the correct duration of time and not have to face space constraints later.
Here are some of the most common questions people have regarding root canal treatment for children.
Are Root Canals Performed On Milk teeth?
Each and every tooth, including milk teeth (deciduous teeth), has the same basic structure. A hard cover of enamel on the outside, dentin in the middle and the pulp on the inside. This pulp contains all the nerve endings which run through the center of the tooth roots.
Within this basic framework there are small variations, however problems such as pain, abscess formation, decay or broken teeth can be treated with a root canal in milk teeth without any problem.
Can Children Handle Root Canal Procedures?
Children are often quite scared of going to the dentist, however, there is nothing specifically about a root canal procedure that is difficult to bear. They would be as scared of getting a tooth extracted or having a filling done.
The key is to inform and educate the child so that they may be able to accept all kinds of dental treatment without any trouble. Achieving such a thing can be a little more difficult in practice though and may involve more than the standard number of visits to achieve.
Once the children have understood that there is nothing to be scared of, they accept the treatment without any problem whatsoever.
For children who are too young to understand or are just unwilling, treatment can even be performed under sedation or general anesthesia. This is the last resort though and only limited to real emergencies.
Is The Root Canal Procedure The Same In Children As In Adults?
The procedure is similar to what adults go through but is not the exact same. There are some important differences. The first and foremost is the approach to root canal treatment. In children, the focus is on pain alleviation and infection control. This is why, a procedure called a pulpotomy is frequently performed in children where access to the inner chamber is achieved, a simple pain relieving dressing given and the tooth closed up.
No effort is made to access all the roots and clean them out completely because the tooth does not have to stay in the oral cavity for an extended period of time.
In cases where the infection has progressed inside the roots as well, a pulpectomy is performed where the roots are cleaned out. They are then filled with a soft material that resorbs at a similar rate to the roots of the milk teeth so that there is no interference with the permanent erupting teeth.