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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


My 4 year old daughter has very bad teeth. Our first visit to the dentist 4 months ago, I was told she had to have at least 4 teeth extracted. One was extracted then the doctor "went out of business." I found another dentist who told me "we never extract children's teeth unless it is absolutely necessary." Therefore, he performed a "child" root canal on one of my daughter's front teeth and now that tooth and gum is turning black. Will she lose this tooth? Is this normal after a child root canal. She has four other cavaties that need filling. I am afraid to go back to this dentist. Thanks. Denise
    
Thanks for the question. As dentists our primary goal is to save or restore teeth. However, cavities in children's teeth grow very quickly and at times extraction is necessary. Many times the four front teeth are extracted due to prolonged bottle use or breast feeding. Performing a "baby root canal" is an option to avoid extracting baby teeth. Unfortunately, because these root canals on the front teeth are only about 60% successful, many dentists feel that extracting teeth is a better treatment.

A tooth that begins changing colors, slightly yellow, gray, or brown is a tooth that is beginning to abscess. This does not mean it absolutely will die but you should look out for any pain, movement , or any sort of " pimple," on the gums above this tooth. It is important to realize that at times a root canal is important especially in cases of the back teeth, where space maintanence is critical.

Both extration and root canals are acceptable and good treatment options. However, with removal of teeth you have a guarantee which you do not have with a root canal.

You should absolutely not be afraid to go back to the dentist. By treating these cavities early you will avoid the decision of extraction vs. root canal and can hopefully solve the problems with simple crowns or fillings.

The root canal performed on your child may buy you some time in letting your daughter keep her front teeth as opposed to being toothless at an early age.

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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