Nerve Treatment in Primary Teeth
It may seem odd to imagine a crown on a baby tooth. After all, the primary teeth are your child’s “practice set,” right? Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. The primary teeth serve a very important purpose, as the placeholders for future permanent teeth. If a child suffers from an infection or abscess in a baby tooth that is left untreated, the tooth may eventually be lost altogether. And if this happens before the permanent teeth are ready to come in (typically beginning around a child’s sixth birthday), the space that tooth is reserving for its permanent counterpart can close up. When the adult teeth begin to erupt, there’s no space for them to come through properly, leading to crooked teeth, bite issues and even speech problems.
This is why, for an infection or abscess, we may recommend nerve treatment, also known as pulpotomy (removal of the infected nerve in the crown) or pulpectomy (removal of the nerve tissue in the crown and roots). The good news is that these procedures are typically no more painful or traumatizing than a simple filling. After we clean out the infected pulp, we cover the remaining portion of the tooth with a stainless steel crown to allow for a normal bite and to prevent further infection.
There are situations where it may be advisable to remove the tooth altogether rather than trying to salvage it with nerve treatments. This depends on the location of the affected tooth, whether the infection has spread to the bone or gum tissue, and your child’s overall health. Sometimes, infection can recur after nerve therapy. If further infection could endanger your child’s health due to other medical conditions, it may be a better option to simply extract the tooth and fix the spacing issues later in life with orthodontia.
Don’t hesitate to call KiDDS Dental if your child is complaining of pain or temperature sensitivity or if you notice a broken tooth with exposed root. Dental infections can be quite serious if left untreated. The first step is making an appointment; then we can discuss treatment options together.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.