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Friday, May 24, 2013
Root canals in children
Hi - My 4 year old daughter saw a new pediatric dentist today. She has definite decay between her two front teeth and the dentist said they will need to be capped and probably have mini root canals. Is this something that is common? It just seems so excessive! She is a very difficult patient and we`ll have to put her under general anethesia just to be treated. The cost of that alone will be $1250!
Unfortunately, severe decay in a patient this age is very difficult to treat. The only real treatment options are to remove the decay, and if the nerves are exposed, do temporary root canals followed by composite crowns; or the other choice is to take the teeth out.
Taking the teeth out at her age may delay the eruption of her permanent teeth as well as possibly cause some eating/occlusion problems. Doing nothing will only lead to future problems since those teeth won't fall out until she is about 6 or 7 years old. Leaving the decay (cavity) will only lead to infection, potential swelling/pain, and potentially may harm her permanent teeth.
The key here and the lesson to be learned is that reduced sugar intake and good oral hygiene, with the parents help, will hopefully prevent any further problems so your daughter won't have to go through this again.
John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University