What is endodontic treatment for children? | Dental Treatment Guide

This is a treatment which works on the pulp of the tooth. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that release oxygen and nutrients which are vital for the development of the teeth. If the becomes injured or infected then endodontic treatment is the appropriate solution to help save the tooth. If you begin notice that your child is experiencing tooth pain for no apparent reason then this might be an indication that they require endodontic treatment. Other signs of needing endodontic treatment might be that they are experiencing sensitivity to changes in temperature in their teeth or that the pulp is exposed due to a broken tooth.

Endodontic treatment is a suitable procedure for both milk and permanent teeth. If an original tooth falls out too early then this can cause the surrounding teeth to move into the empty space, which stops the adult tooth from growing properly uptight into its own space. For milk teeth there are two types of treatment, vital and non-vital pulp therapy.

Vital pulp therapy

The type of therapy involves the removal of the pulp from the crown of the tooth and not the roots. This treatment cannot work if there is any swelling or abscesses. There are 4 types of vital pulp therapy that can be used on milk teeth.

  1. Protective base:
    This is used when the tooth has decayed but the pulp is not affected. Initially the decay is removed and then a protective filling is put into the tooth.
  2. Indirect pulp cap:
    This is necessary when the tooth decay is near to the pulp but the pulp has not yet become infected. The decay is removed and a protective filling is placed over the tooth to prevent pulp exposure and this helps the healing process of the infection.
  3. Direct pulp cap:
    This is used when a small amount of pulp is already exposed. The exposed pulp is treated with medication to help prevent it from becoming infected.
  4. Vital pulpotomy:
    This is used when the tip of the pulp has become infected with decay. All the decay is removed and then the inside of the tooth is filled with protective material. This is then covered over with a crown to seal it from further infection. This procedure can be used on milk teeth and permanent teeth. However, if it is used on permanent teeth then it can only be a temporary measure until the root has finished growing.

Non-vital pulp therapy

This is another version of root canal treatment and is used when the pulp has been damaged to the extent that it cannot be salvaged. This procedure works by initially removing all the pulp from inside the tooth and then cleaning this. The decayed tooth is then filled with a substance that eventually causes the tooth to fall out. A crown is placed in the vacant space to protect it from infection. This can be made so that it matches the colour of your existing teeth and so does not dramatically alter the appearance of your teeth.

When deciding whether to extract the infant tooth or to proceed with root canal treatment it is important to consider the following factors:

  • The tooth that is infected and what type of tooth this is
  • The estimated time when the tooth is expected to fall out
  • The amount of damage on the tooth
  • Whether the gum or jawbone have become infected