If your child has a tooth that has been severely damaged by tooth decay, the chances are good that they are experiencing a substantial amount of pain. Your first instinct as a parent then, is to quickly remove this source of pain. However, when it comes to children, especially those with all or most of their baby teeth intact, extraction is not always the best course of action.

A root canal procedure, while normally associated with adult teeth, can extend the life of a primary (baby) tooth so that it can run its natural course until the secondary tooth is ready to erupt. Naturally, you will have some misgivings about putting your child through such a procedure. However, as you will learn from this article, performing a root canal on a baby tooth is far more beneficial than extracting the tooth.

Root Canal Therapy is Safe

Your first priority will naturally be the safety of your child. This is understandable. However, not only is a pulpotomy (removal of an infected nerve) of a baby tooth a simpler procedure than that of an adult tooth, but it is also faster too, taking one visit as opposed to two for adult teeth.

Before the procedure is carried out, a local anesthetic will be administered meaning your child will feel little pain during the whole process.

Saving a Tooth is Often More Beneficial than Extraction

Although your child's baby teeth will later fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, removing them too early could cause further dental issues. For instance, baby teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is removed too early then, the remaining teeth naturally shift into the space.

This will leave little room for the permanent tooth to come in and could result in overcrowding and the need for braces later in your child's development. Teeth are also necessary for eating and speaking. Why remove one then when it can be repaired?

Your Child's Age is the Main Deciding Factor

As a parent, it helps to be aware of the stages of natural tooth loss in your child. For instance, the first teeth to fall out are generally the lower central incisors between the ages of 5-7. Next, the upper central incisors will fall out within a few weeks or months. However, the age varies from child to child. Knowing the stages will help you to decide what is best for your child.

If for example, a lower central incisor becomes infected when your child is 6 years old, extraction of the tooth is probably the way to go.

Despite their bad rap, root canals are designed to save teeth so that your child can eat and speak with ease, without pain and without the need for braces later on in life.