The root canal is a dental procedure to treat a damaged tooth. They are not as common for baby teeth since, generally, the roots aren’t fully developed yet and so don’t require treatment. And therefore, in the case of a baby, it is commonly called a pulpotomy. It is required because, in some cases, an infection must be treated, or cavities can be deep enough to damage the tooth nerve.
The dentist removes the damaged pulp tissue during the procedure and sterilizes the remaining root canal. Then, a medicated filling material is placed into the tooth to promote healing and prevent infection. The final step is to seal the tooth with a crown, usually made of stainless steel, to protect it from further damage. While the thought of dental procedures can be scary for little ones, a pulpotomy is a relatively simple and painless procedure that can save their tooth, alleviate pain, and promote healthy growth and development.
Preparing Your Child for the Procedure
It is crucial to have your child prepared before any medical procedure, and for that, some suggestions include:
- Discussing the procedure is simpler
- Reading books about visiting the dentist or having dental procedures
- Playing “dentist” with your child to help them feel more familiar and comfortable with dental equipment
- Encourage good behavior before, during, and after the procedure, such as keeping still, following instructions from the dentist, and maintaining a positive attitude
- Use positive language and explain the outcome in a favorable light. The more informed they are before their appointment, the more comfortable they’ll be during it
Ask Your Dentist About Sedation Options
As an anxious parent, you should ask your dentist about the sedation options available, as it can help make the process of a baby root canal less stressful for your child. From nitrous oxide to light IV sedation, there are several choices that your dentist may recommend depending on your child’s age and behavioral needs. Opting for a qualified professional who can answer your questions and concerns before treatment begins is appropriate.
Bring Distractions for Your Child to Keep Them Occupied During the Procedure
It is important to keep your child distracted by keeping him occupied during the procedure. Bring items like books and quiet toys to occupy their attention, as well as something of yours, such as a scarf or piece of clothing that holds your scent, which may help soothe them during the treatment process. You can use audiovisual distraction with VR goggles, as it can reduce fear and anxiety issues.
Talk to Other Parents Who Have Had Their Babies Go Through a Root Canal
Hearing about another parent’s experience with a root canal for their baby can be incredibly helpful for anxious parents in the same situation. Talking to a parent who has already gone through the process of having their baby go through a root canal may give you some peace of mind, as they can provide the following:
- Insights into what you should expect during the procedure.
- Advice on staying calm in such a stressful situation.
- Tips on how to get your baby through it as comfortably and safely as possible.