If your child’s dentist has recommended root canal, or endodontic (“endo” = inside; “dont” = tooth), treatment, you might be asking why. After all, root canal treatment is a way of saving a tooth with bacterial infection or inflammation by removing the pulp in the center of the tooth. Since your child’s primary (baby) teeth will eventually come out on their own, you might wonder what the point is of trying to save one that is at risk of being lost prematurely.
In fact, saving a baby tooth may be just as important as saving a fully developed adult tooth. The untimely loss of baby teeth can interfere with chewing, speech development, and, most importantly, the alignment of newly developing permanent teeth. Here’s why: Each baby tooth holds the space open for the permanent tooth that will emerge behind it, and all teeth do not fall out at the same time. If there’s a gap that forms prematurely, the remaining teeth will shift position to fill it. And that can affect the ultimate alignment of permanent teeth.
Root canal treatment may also be recommended to treat a recently erupted permanent tooth (with roots not fully formed or developed) that has had pulp (nerve) damage.