Does Your Child Need A Root Canal? Importance Of Baby Root Canals


Every year millions of children’s teeth are saved thanks to the advanced technology of root canals. Root canal treatment, also known as endodontic treatment, is a restorative procedure used when the nerve inside of a tooth has been harmed. Instead of having your tooth extracted, there are ways to save and restore your tooth to its original function, and appearance. The words ‘root canal’ might make you fearful, but root canals are really not a big deal, in fact they don’t take much more time than a routine cavity filing. Typically within 2 appointments you can address and then undergo a root canal procedure for a child. Unless the root has undergone severe damage and is fractured to the point that the bone is no longer strong enough to support a new tooth, almost all teeth can be treated with a root canal at Central Park Dentistry in NYC. As dental technology continues to advance, more and more people are able to get root canals in instances that might otherwise call for a tooth extraction.

Why Do Kids Need Root Canals?

You might be wondering why your child needs a root canal if one or more of their baby teeth are in danger. Won’t their adult teeth just grow in anyways? Children typically shed their baby teeth for adult teeth around 6-12 years old, but this is a big age spread. If your child’s tooth is infected and they are only 4, it could be 7 years before their adult tooth sprouts, leaving them with a gap in their mouth for a long time. In some cases your child’s root pulp may be exposed, and this can be very painful. By treating this with a root canal you can provide your child with a solution to the pain and discomfort, while restoring their tooth to its natural appearance.

Missing teeth can lead to other problems such as:

  • Impacted speech
  • Inability to properly chew
  • Insecurities
  • Depending on where the missing tooth is located it can be more difficult to brush and floss.
  • Missing teeth leave your gums and jawbone exposed to added pressure that can cause damage.

For these reasons, many parents decide that a root canal is the best option for their child. Baby teeth are an important component to your child’s developing mouth. NYC dental professionals highly recommend taking the necessary measures to save baby teeth using root canals whenever possible. After the procedure is complete and a cap is secured on top, this tooth should remain strong and stoic in your child’s mouth until the time comes and they lose their tooth. Since the materials used to create a root canal are biocompatible, meaning they work with your body, as soon as the tooth is ready to come loose it will. To learn more about baby root canals, please call Central Park Dentistry in NYC to speak to our friendly patient advisors at (212) 486-1982 or fill out the contact form to receive more information.

Parts Of The Tooth: What Do The Insides of Your Teeth Look Like?

tooth-anatomyTo fully understand how a root canal works, it helps to understand the parts of your teeth. The top of the tooth is called the crown and the bottom of the tooth, beneath the gum line, is called the root. An enamel coating covers the top portion of your teeth for protection. Deep at the center of your tooth rests the most sensitive part called the pulp, a soft tissue made up of nerve, blood vessels, and connective tissues. At the very center of it all, the pulp chamber is a hallow area that extends down to the jawbone through the roots of the tooth. A root canal is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or injured.

The purpose of the tooth root and pulp is to provide the entire tooth with the necessary nutrients to grow, develop, and thrive. If this nerve incurs injury than it will be difficult for it to properly do its job, causing other oral issues to arise. The pulp can become injured due to extensive cavities or sudden injury that causes the root to become severed. Children typically only require a less invasive version of a root canal, called a pulpotomy.

Root Canal Procedure: What To Expect

So you might be wondering what really happens during the root canal procedure.

The first step is always x-rays to identify the problem and the depth of it. After examining these photos and creating the best plan of action, a local anesthetic will be applied so that your child doesn’t feel anything throughout their procedure. At the start of the procedure, a dental dam is placed around the tooth that needs a root canal so that the rest of your teeth remain unaffected throughout the procedure. This also keeps the tooth being worked on from coming into contact with saliva, or anything potentially unclean.

If the decay is minimal, a pulpotomy, or indirect pulp treatment, can be used; this includes removing most of the decay without having to remove any part of the pulp. After the tooth is thoroughly cleaned an antibiotic can be applied, and then the tooth can be sealed back up. This is a very easy treatment, that’s why it is referred to as ‘indirect.’ When caught on time, a pulpotomy provides a quick and less painful procedure for kids.

If sudden trauma or progressive tooth decay impacts the root, it might be necessary to go one step further and do a pulpectomy. A pulpectomy goes deeper than the upper crown level of your teeth, beneath the gums and into the actual root canals. At this level, the pulp may need to be cleaned and partially removed, once completely disinfected this area will be filled with a substance that can mimic your original tooth pulp. Often a rubber material called gutta-percha is used to seal off the root canals for future protection.

Shortly after your root canal procedure, you will visit the dentist a second time to have a filling or crown inserted on top of the tooth so that it is natural in appearance and function. If your root canal is very severe and has damaged the ability for your tooth to properly support a crown, a post can be inserted inside of the tooth to provide a firm base.

For a few days after your child’s procedure they will want to avoid eating or biting down on anything with the healing tooth until they have the okay from their dentist.

What Are The Benefits To Undergoing A Baby Root Canal?

For both adult and baby teeth there are many benefits to getting a root canal.

Some baby root canal benefits include:

  • You can eat, talk, and live your life normally after having a root canal. Once healed, the procedure will restore your tooth back to its original condition.
  • Prevents the need for ongoing dental work
  • Looks 100% natural
  • Keeps your other teeth from undergoing excess wear or strain

If a tooth requires a root canal but remains untreated, your child is at risk for:

  • Extreme pain
  • Missing out on school or other important activities
  • Chipping or cracking of the tooth
  • A puss filed abscess that forms at the base of the tooth root

Signs Your Child Might Need a Root Canal

When a root canal is necessary, this means that the pulp of your tooth is inflamed, due to trauma or infection. This trauma could be caused by an accident, untreated cavities, or having too many dental procedures on one tooth. In other words, anything that damages the tooth pulp can lead to the need for a root canal.

Signs you might need a root canal include:

  • If your child complains of tooth pain or sensitivity to hot or cold foods and beverages.
  • If your child’s tooth is showing signs of abnormal coloring
  • If a tooth is painful to chew on, or even to touch
  • The tooth itself isn’t the only thing that might be sore, surrounding bone and gum tissue may also be tender or painful
  • Tender lymph nodes with possible draining

Keep in mind; in some cases there are no warning signs at all for a root canal. This is why regular oral check ups are so important. A simple x-ray can reveal the need for a root canal long before the pulp is damaged and more serious side effects begin to occur.

Does A Root Canal Procedure Hurt?

baby-tooth-pain-NYCCavities can be very painful, especially those far progressed enough to require a root canal. For this reason, pre-root canal surgery many patients are already in pain, which is exactly what the procedure helps to relieve. Dr. Feldman will ensure the comfort of your child every step of the way, and thanks to carefully administered local anesthetic, your child will not feel a thing during the surgery. A root canal can provide true relief for patients of all ages. Severe pain arises after the nerve tissue becomes damaged or infected. After being properly cleaned, and if necessary removed and restored, the nerve will no longer create this pain. Some discomfort and sensitivity is normal for up to 2 weeks after the procedure, although this should subside quickly. If pain persists, you will need to contact your pediatric dentist immediately.

In rare cases a tooth that has a root canal can become infected again, leaving some to question if a root canal can be performed twice on the same tooth. The answer is yes; the same tooth can be saved via root canal more than once. Careful dental work with a strong attention to detail can help prevent the re-occurrence of a root canal in the same tooth. If you have very narrow or curvy root canals, your dentist can treat the potential for further tooth decay during your first procedure.

How Much Does A Baby Root Canal Cost in NYC?

Many parents, in fear of the cost of a root canal for their child, wonder if they should instead have their child’s tooth extracted. The thing is, your child might be missing that tooth for a long time, perhaps even years before their adult tooth grows in. The overall cost of a baby root canal in NYC can vary, although the answer is largely dependent on the severity of your root canal. For instance, since back molars tend to be trickier to work on they might cost more. Other costs to figure in include x-rays and applying the crown over the tooth. Typically, you can save money by saving a tooth when it only needs a root canal, as opposed to waiting until the tooth needs to be extracted. While the extraction itself might not cost more, the associated restorative dental work can. Remember, the sooner that you address any dental problems the less expensive and invasive the optional procedures will be.

Does Dental Insurance Cover Root Canals For Kids In NYC?

Most dental insurance plans will pay off a good portion of your child’s root canal procedure in New York City. Even the most basic dental insurance plans that cost around $70- $100 annually can save you up to half off of dental procedures such as a root canal. With dental insurance, your overall total could go from over $1,000 to well under $1,000, all things considered. The best way to know how much it will cost is to talk with your insurance company. If you don’t have dental insurance but want to obtain it before your child undergoes a root canal, make sure you find out how long you must be a paying recipient of the insurance before you can file a claim for basic and major services, like root canals & crowns. Some insurance companies have a waiting period before they will pay for claims for these procedures. To find out if your dental insurance covers for baby root canals at our office, please call us at (212) 486-1982 or fill out the contact form to receive more information.

Root Canals For NYC Kids At Central Park Dentistry

If a root canal is necessary, it should be taken care of as quickly as possible. A root canal might seem scary to you and your child, but there is truly nothing to worry about at Central Park Dentistry. Dr. Feldman works with each patient using the best methods for their specific situation. Dr. Feldman offers personalized restorative services to meet your child’s exact needs. When it comes to your child’s pediatric dental care, quality is of upmost importance. For baby root canals in the NYC area, please call us to schedule an appointment today at (212) 486-1982 or fill out the contact form to receive more information.