15 answers

Has Anybody Ever Had a Child Get a Root Canal on a Baby Tooth.

My Grandson went to the dentist and the dentist said he needs a root canal. He is only five years old and it was a baby tooth. Six months later he went back to the dentist and he said he needed to pull that same tooth cause it was infected. Is that normal to do a root canal on a baby tooth? I just feel bad cause he was at the dentist twice and went through 2 not so fun experiences. I sure hope he doesn't have a fear of the dentist now.

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My son got an abcess on a baby tooth when he was about 5 or6 and his pediatric dentist said they could do a root canal but that it was a baby tooth and he would lose it anyway so they just pulled it and put in a spacer to keep the other teeth from growing closer together. I would say it would be a waste of time, money, to have the root canal and pretty traumatic for a 5 yr old. Pulling it would be a better solution. Good Luck!

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I sure hope he doesn't have the fear of the dentist either and if the procedures were performed appropriately he shouldn't. I practice dentistry in West Des Moines, Iowa. My mother is a daycare provider and she forwarded this to me and I thought I should respond. The indication for a root canal on a child is age and developmentally specific. If the tooth has significant decay and the decay has entered the pulp (the center of the tooth where the nerve and blood supply is located) the only two choices for treatment are to remove the pulp tissue or extract the tooth. Often times parents choose to extract the tooth because they see a baby tooth as being unneeded or replaceable. The problem with extracting a baby tooth at this age is that the space where the tooth was located is very important for the permanent tooth later in life. If the tooth is removed a space maintenance device is needed or the teeth will shift to close the space. In order to save the tooth either a pulpotomy or a root canal is needed to remove the pulp tissue that became damaged from the deep decay. If it is possible to negotiate a file down the roots, it is beneficial to do the root canal, if not, simply cleaning out the coronal portion of the pulp chamber (the part of the pulp in the crown of the tooth) may work. The latter is called a pulpotomy. Medicine is put into the tooth and usually filled with a cotton pellet and temporary filling. Due to the significant loss of tooth structure a stainless steel crown is needed to protect the tooth afterwards. Hopefully this will succeed in keeping the tooth and maintaining the space needed for the permanent tooth later. If not there may be the need to extract the tooth in the future due to treatment failure and then, depending on the child's age, a space maintainer would need to be placed. If the child is normally developed and between the ages of 9-13 there may be no need to put in a spacer because the permanent tooth will be erupting soon. Thanks and let me know if you'd like any other info!

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My daughter is going in for something similar, just not as extensive. It is also a baby tooth and the dentist explained that if they were to pull the tooth she would lose the space in her mouth for future teeth. If there is too much space they would pull it, but for her she doesn't have extra space, so needs to save the tooth.

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I would see a different dentist- a pediatric one. My dentisit says root canals are not usually done on baby teeth because their roots are not like adult teeth. Most of the time they will pull it if it's that bad. The only time I can see them doing it is if would be like 8 years before that tooth falls out and they need a tooth there for spacing issues. My daughter had an issue with a back tooth. They drilled it out and put a temporary cap like thing on it and she was good to go until it fell out-- not root canaal done.

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My daughter at age 2 because of acid reflux damage had to have anestesia at the hospital and had 4 caps, 2 fillings and 2 sealants done. Thankfully, as it was a medical issue not lack of care it was completely covered by medical insurance. She is now 8 and looking forward to the day that her adult teeth come in so she does not have silver teeth. It surprises me that they pulled the tooth as I thought they needed their molars for speech development, chewing, proper spacing etc.
I am sorry that your grandson had to go through this...hopefully there will be no long term effect.
Smiles, L.

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my son had a baby tooth the same way, the dentist wanted to do a root canal and crown. being i have been in that same boat with my adult teeth. i asked if they could just pull it instead. then he agreed, but he didn't offer that option first. he said they try to save all the teeth even baby teeth as long as they can. that could be why they did't offer that in the first place.

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I would definitely get a second opinion - that sounds like drastic work for a little kid.

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D.,

I would suggest you contact the American Dental Association to get an expert opinion. Sometimes its all about the $$$ with our local dentists. To curtail any fears, next time you take your little one to the dentist, take along a small radio with head phones that play some of the child tunes.

I once had a bad experience as a child and it took me almost 30 years to overcome it. BTW, when I was younger (in my teens) a dentist once told me that I had a heredity gum disease and they were pulling my teeth like crazy. Well would'nt you know that I found a dentist in my forties that told me there was not such thing. But because of this bad info, I now have an upper and lower partial. But it was because of one dentist, that took the time to save my teeth instead of just taking the easy way out and pulling that I ahve the smile I have today. Good luck!!

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When I was little I had a root canal on a baby tooth and it wasn't painful or uncomfortable at all. It is a pretty standard procedure. Just because one's teeth are not permanent does not mean that they shouldn't receive care because when a baby tooth has to be removed it allows the other teeth to shift which can, in the long run, cause the need for braces.

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