17 answers

Root Canals in Children

My oldest daughter is 11 & just found out today she needs to have a root canal!! Has any one else had a child that age have a root canal? If so how much pain was there & for how long? She doesn't handle pain very well!! Any help would be useful!! Thank You!!

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Hi L.,
You may want to consider getting a second opinion on this one, just in case. Seems like a big deal for such a young child. It may be necessary but what if it's not? Hope all goes well!

My child has never had to have one but I have had 2 myself. I think if I ever had to have another one I would seek out a dentist that either used a laser drill or a water drill. Pain with these drills is suppose to be minimal. I think a regular drill is very painful.

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Hi mom I have not had this problem but am very concern about your child this is very young.I think you should get another dentist to take a look at this because your child still have baby teeth and there are a lot of scams out there. Good Luck

If you haven't had this procedure done by now, here is more info that I hope might be helpful for you. This practice of dentists do only root canals, and I think that they would be an excellent resource for getting a second opinion. She does seem awfully young for needing a root canal. But if she does need one, these people know how to do it painlessly. I had one with them, at about age 55, and it was painless except for the first couple of pain shots.


Best wishes,

I agree with getting a second opinion for sure, if it really needs to be done go to a pediatric dentist. Talk before hand about the pain prevention, and usually you can ask for more options. Mine was only going to do the numbing gel and then a numbing shot, but we asked for my 5 year old to be put out, and my 10 year old to have laughing gas. Both were fine afterward, but we stuck them on motrin for 2 days.

Hi L.,
You may want to consider getting a second opinion on this one, just in case. Seems like a big deal for such a young child. It may be necessary but what if it's not? Hope all goes well!

i would highly recommend researching the negatives of having a root canal before doing that

I had a root canal at the age of 12. I complained of tooth pain, we went to the dentist and he didn't see anything wrong with the tooth. The next day I woke up with a completely swollen face. Ended up referred to an Endodontist. I had an absess in my cheek. I had to have surgery to remove the absess before they did the root canal. I was in pain because of how severe my problem was, but the procedures themselves were not bad as they put me out for all of it. I am now 37 and have not had any issues with the tooth. It's slightly discolored from the others, but it's barely noticeable.

I don't know about root canals in children, but I've had one myself. They actually don't really hurt, it's a misconception because it's the pain before the root canal that hurts. Your mouth is held open with a plastic piece and if the tooth is far back, it's uncomfortable to have the dentist's hand back there for so long. Mine was a molar, my lips were raw from the dentist trying to get his hand back there. It's really no different from having a cavity filled as far as the pain goes. The needles are the only painful part really. Give her some ibuprofen after wards. The dentist may also want you to give her some before the appointment.

My daighter had a root canal when she was five years old. She was actually put out for the procedure, but was 100% fine afterwards. Once the pain medication wore out, we gave her Tylonal for one day. She was back to school the next day like nothing had happened! She will be fine!

Root canals aren't pleasant but there are a couple of factors that might make it easier. Is the dentist pleasant and does your daughter feel comfortable? What sort of painkiller will the dentist use? And if you are worried get a second opinion. I had a root canal done many years ago and it was with a rather ornery old dentist. Not that this will be pleasant or that old dentists are bad. It's the ornery part that isn't good. Make sure it is necessary and have it explained to you thoroughly.

I've had several root canals and they are NOT pleasant/ My daughter also had one when she was 10 and had an a terrible experience. I would say to try and get referrals of doctors from people you know that had good a experience. Ask around as much as you can before taking her. That's the best way. My daughter had a good dr, very gentle but he took other patients in between her numbing and also took an emergency case while in the middle of her root canal. She ending up sitting in the chair for 3 hours with her mouth wide open with a rubber damn on. It was horrible and she was tramitised by the time we got out. I don;t mean to scare you but really check into getting a good pediatric doctor and talk to them before taking her in. Good Luck. I wish had a referral for you.

My son had a root canal at 8 years old. However, he really was a trooper and the only discomfort that he complained about was he was nervous about the shot (to numb his mouth). They gave him a little numbing gel and he didn't really feel the novacaine shot, either.

I gave him Jr. strength Advil, in advance, as I would not be able to give it to him afterwards because he couldn't eat or drink anything afterwards, for over an hour. Our dentist told me that he may be a little uncomfortable when the novacaine wore off, especially since his mouth had to remain open so wide for so long. Dinner was all soft foods. I believe I gave him another dose of Advil (ibuprofen) before bedtime but, really, for him, it was not a big deal. He did not complain of any pain the next day, except where the shot was administered, in his mouth, and even that was nominal.

Our doctor is very gentle and extremely sensitive to making sure that children (and adults) have a positive experience at the dental office. My children have never feared going to our dentist. They just have a great rapport with him. From early on, he has gently discouraged having parents linger in the dental room, with their own child, because he has always believed that he had to develop a relationship with them, away from the parents. My children trust their dentist.

I would talk to your dentist to come up with the best strategy for your daughter so that your daughter continues to have a positive experience with her dentist. If she trusts the dentist, it's half the battle.

My child has never had to have one but I have had 2 myself. I think if I ever had to have another one I would seek out a dentist that either used a laser drill or a water drill. Pain with these drills is suppose to be minimal. I think a regular drill is very painful.

There is a dental treatment using ozone -- popular in Europe and Canada but not in the US. It is painless and you don't need to drill in most cases. I don't know how it works for root canals but it may save your child a lot of pain and discomfort, not to mention the drugs. Here is the info for the practice:
Dr. Kammer
2275 Deming Way Ste. 180
Middleton, WI 53562
Phone: ###-###-#### (82-SMILE)

Email: ____@____.com

I would definitely advise that you go to a specialist. I have been an endodontal assisstant for 12 years of my life. We would see lots of people who had gone to their dentist first, only to have them botch it and THEN send it to a specialist. And thats how the horrible rumors of root canals get propagated. If you send your daughter to a endodontist, that is ALL they do everyday, so they have lots of ways to make things pleasant and comfortable that the general dentists have not mastered since they do maybe a couple a month at most.

If you have a root canal done RIGHT, then it is no more painful than a filling. The shot is what hurts the worst and the GOOD endodontists have ways to decrease that significantly with certain techniques.

Then it just lasts longer than a filling. But again if its done RIGHT, people will just chill out in the chair, then get a dental dam to prop their mouth open. Many people in our endodontists office would fall asleep.

Most of all, I see parents that freak their kids out when they are at the office. When the kids see that, it turns on their danger antenaes. If you go to someone good, then relax and don't send off any red alert signals and they will feel much more calm about the experience.

My son had to have one done, probably around your child's age. If the dentist know what they are doing, it is not painful. They will get the shot to numb the area anyhow. The nerve will be taken out and basically dead after that. I've had 2 done and my dentist was awesome. If my jaw hurt, Tylenol helped with that.

Just weighing in on root canal - not to scare you - but sometimes root canal is very painful despite anesthesia. Mine was. Apparently I don't "numb up" like the usual person. So I would agree with posters that said to get referrals. Don't depend on the procedure being pain free. Make sure you have a gently caring dentist who has worked with children. Good luck!

I have been a dental hygienist for 5 years but had been working as a dental assistant 6 years prior to graduating hygiene school. So this root canal is this on a permanent (gorwn-up) tooth or a primary (baby) tooth. Depending on the eruption pattern your daughter can have a few to no baby teeth left. If the RCT (root canal therapy) is needed on a baby tooth I would think twice about getting it done as she is probably gonna lose the tooth soon. If the RCT tooth is needed on a permanent tooth then it depends. Is it a molar (which has multiple nerve canals) or a anterior (front) tooth which has one nerve canal. No matter what local anesthetic is used and as long as the tooth is not infected the procedure should be pretty straight foward. Most of the time the worst part is the jiggling drill soind in your head. Some discomfort might be experienced for the not so tolerant patients but no real pain. Food for thought you can give your daughter motrin or advil (just as long as she is not allergic) right before the dental appointment so that she has medicine in her system when the anesthetic wears off. Good luck!

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