A Guide to Dental Root Canals in Children

You may not have expected that your child needs a root canal, but root canals in children are more common (and less unpleasant!) than you think. Root canals can improve your oral hygiene in the long run, as well as preserving tooth structure and alignment.

What is a Root Canal?

Root canals are procedures that treat teeth with infected pulp. The pulp of a tooth is the “living” part, and it’s filled with nerves that connect to your jawbone. The pulp can become infected from a cracked tooth, a really deep cavity, or sometimes just genetics.


Adult teeth can live without this pulp, which the root canal removes. The rest of your teeth, along with the gums and jaw, will make sure the tooth structure and alignment remain unchanged.


It may be surprising to hear that your child needs a root canal on one of their baby teeth. Though it seems like the easiest thing to do would be to pull it or wait for it to fall out, that is not a good idea for your child’s long term dental health.


Baby teeth are an important guide for the development of your child’s mouth and face, as well as the palate and nasal cavities. Leaving the tooth to fall out or be pulled doesn’t treat the infection within the tooth, and it can affect the health of the child’s gums, jaw, and adult teeth.

Do Root Canals Hurt?

A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth in question, so the child should not feel much. Also, pediatric dentists are skilled in calming children and minimizing fear before a dental procedure. Like any other surgery or procedure, the pain level will be dictated by the skill of your doctor. The better your dentist is at root canals, the less it will hurt!


That being said, if your child is extremely uneasy or very averse to dental procedures, you may be able to request that they be sedated. Check with your practitioner to see what they recommend.

Other Types of Root Canal Treatment

There are a number of types of root canals, as provided by dentistsinuk.co.


They are:


  • the nonsurgical primary root canal treatment
  • a secondary root canal treatment if the problem persists
  • an apicoectomy (removal of the infected tissue and root of the tooth) if the second procedure fails
  • a pulpotomy (the preferred treatment for children, where the pulp and nerve are removed from the crown of the tooth)
  • a pulpectomy (another treatment for children where the pulp is removed from the crown and the root).

Schedule an Appointment

If your child is experiencing tenderness at the jaw, complaining of tooth pain, is struggling to chew, or is overly sensitive to hot or cold sensations on a tooth, schedule an appointment with a Kool Smiles Kids Club partner dentist today.


The best way to avoid root canals in children is by taking care of their teeth. Remember to practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, and schedule regular check-ups and cleanings.