Endodontics is a dental treatment that can be performed not only for adults with permanent teeth but for children with primary or baby teeth as well. Regardless of the fact that baby teeth will eventually fall out, the dentist may still suggest for the teeth to undergo procedure like endodontics as mentioned. Fixing them is important as baby teeth play an important role in preparing a child to grow up.
Baby teeth are significant not only for chewing but for speaking as well. They also hold spaces for the permanent teeth that will soon replace them. If a child loses a baby tooth too soon as expected, the neighbouring teeth can move occupying the empty spaces. If this happened, the neighbouring teeth can block the coming out of a permanent tooth causing it to be misplaced and/or grow tilted.
Endodontics involves the pulp of a tooth which encloses the nerve of the tooth. The tooth pulp also contains blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients to the tooth. When the pulp is injured or infected, endodontic treatment is often recommended to be performed in an attempt to save the tooth thus avoid premature fall out. The parent may bring the chid to an endodontist if the child: experiences dentin hypersensitivity to changes in temperature; feels toothache even without any reason; or if the child had an injury resulting to a broken tooth with exposed pulp.
There are two types of endodontics treatment an endodontist may use in performing endodontic treatment for primary or baby teeth.
1. The vital pulp therapy is where the tooth’s pulp is being extracted from the crown of the tooth not from the root. This type of therapy requires that the tooth of the child is not loose, and no abscess is present.
Pulp therapy can performed in four ways:
– Protective liner – is applied after all cavities have been removed on decayed tooth that does not directly affect the pulp. This minimizes the injury in the pulp thus preserves the vitality of the tooth and promotes pulp tissue healing.
– Indirect pulp treatment – is performed in a tooth with deep carious lesion signs and symptoms of pulp degeneration wherein the caries are not being removed to avoid pulp exposure, instead, it is being covered with a restorative material that completely seals the dentin. This preserves the vitality of a tooth.
– Direct pulp cap – is applied when a small amount of pulp becomes exposed secondary to removal of decays or traumatic injury. It is being covered with a biocompatible material that seals the tooth from micro leakage.
– Vital Pulpotomy – is performed if the root is still healthy after caries removal that results in exposing of the pulp or after a traumatic pulp exposure. The healthy pulp in the roots is being left while the inside of the tooth is filled with a protective material and the tooth is enclosed with a stainless steel crown.
2. The non-vital pulp therapy, known as root canal treatment wherein the pulp is extracted from both the crown and the root. This is being performed when the pulp of a tooth is irreversibly infected or necrotic due to caries or trauma. The endodontist removes all the pulp then cleans and fills it with a biocompatible material that is absorbed in the root in preparation for the tooth to fall out. A stainless steel crown covers the tooth for protection. This therapy usually requires more than one dental visit.
It is important for the child’s teeth condition to be evaluated by an endodontist first then discuss whether the child needs an endododntic treatment or needs a tooth extraction. The decision of the endodontist usually based many factors such as: which tooth is affected; when will the tooth would naturally fall out; the extent of damage to the tooth; and whether the problem has affected the bone or the gum tissue. After the endodontic treatment, the child may experience some soreness. However, this soreness can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers for children.
If your child has serious medical problems, any infection can lead to a more serious problem. If the tooth was damaged due to infection, there is a chance that it could become infected again after root canal treatment. In this case, the endodontist will definitely recommend that the tooth may be extracted. If your child is healthy and removing the tooth might affect his or her ability to eat or speak properly, or the permanent tooth’s ability to come in properly, the endodontist may suggest root canal treatment.