Do Children Need Root Canals?

If your child has a damaged tooth and the damage extends to the nerve or pulp, a dentist might recommend a root canal to prevent the damage from spreading further.

The term “root canal” can be a little intimidating, but a root canal is a routine procedure in both adults and children. If you had a root canal decades ago, you might feel apprehensive about taking your child for one, but rest assured that root canals have come a long way. According to the American Association of Endodontists, getting a root canal these days is no more painful than getting a filling, thanks to modern technology and anesthetics.

Root Canals for Primary (Baby) Teeth

A dentist may recommend a root canal for a baby tooth or a permanent tooth. In general, the only reason to skip a root canal in a baby tooth is if the tooth is just about ready to fall out on its own. If the tooth isn’t ready to fall out, then a root canal will preserve the tooth until it is.

Root Canal Treatment for Kids with Permanent Teeth

For children with adult (or permanent) teeth, a root canal is recommended in any tooth where bacteria or tooth decay has infected the tooth’s pulp. If left untreated, an infection can permanently damage your child’s teeth. Treatment is time-sensitive, so keep an eye out for the following signs of an infected pulp:

  • Toothaches
  • Sharp pain in a tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverages
  • A broken tooth with exposed root or nerve

Does My Child Need a Root Canal?

If you’re worried your child may have an infection (or any sort of dental issues), it’s essential you take them to see a dentist as soon as possible. Many dental problems get worse with time, and few clear up on their own without treatment. A Kool Smiles Kids Club partner dentist in your area can perform a thorough examination of your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth, and will recommend an appropriate treatment, if necessary.

We understand the strain that costly dental procedures can place on a family. Kool Smiles’ dentist partners accept Medicaid, TRICARE, CHIP (formerly SCHIP), credit, and cash. Our partner dentists all share a common goal – to make quality dental care accessible.