At Montgomery Pediatric Dentistry, we see patients from ages 0-18, which means we treat both primary (baby) teeth and adult teeth. In being able to service both, many of our restorative treatments differ in procedure due to the specifics of the tooth anatomy. One of these treatments that differ depending on the type of tooth that has accumulated decay is root canal therapy.
A root canal is needed when a patient's tooth obtains a cavity and, when left untreated, turns into major tooth decay or even tooth infection. The infection can become so bad that it starts to infect the inner portion of the tooth from the crown down to the root and into the pulp, where all the tooths’ nerves are located. At this point the pulp becomes inflamed and inflicts serious pain to the patient, this is when we will take x-rays and assess the problem to determine if a root canal is the best option.
Root Canal Procedure
Baby teeth and adult teeth are treated differently when it comes to needing a root canal. For baby teeth, depending on the severity of the decay and infection, we will either suggest a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy root canal.
A pulpotomy is a root canal treatment that is selected when the decay or infection has consumed deep down in the tooth crown and possibly the pulp. The pulpotomy is when the inflamed and infected pulp tissue in the crown only is removed and the pulp of the roots is left intact. After the infected pulp is removed, the space will be filled with dental material. For baby molars that need a pulpotomy, a silver crown might be needed.
A pulpectomy is suggested when the infection has reached the center of the tooth crown and down through the tooth's roots. In this case, the patient is numbed and then the entire pulp chamber going down the roots is completely removed, cleaned, and disinfected. The tooth will be filled with dental material and receive a crown.
When it comes to adult or permanent teeth, the procedure is somewhat the same, but different due to the anatomy of the tooth. The removal of the infected and inflamed pulp tissue occurs, then the inner tooth is cleaned and disinfected, and then a dental crown is needed. Our goal with performing root canals is to maintain the anatomy of the tooth as much as possible to try and prevent major restorative steps.
Have tooth pain?
Is your child complaining of severe tooth pain in a single area? We would encourage you to bring them into our office, Montgomery Pediatric Dentistry, to have their teeth examined for serious decay. To avoid the need for root canal therapy, it is important to stay up to date with your twice-a-year appointments.
Please come visit or contact our office located in Princeton, New Jersey for more information regarding the root canal procedure or symptoms to look out for. We are here to help your children develop healthy dental habits and maintain a beautiful smile.