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filmfann's avatar

Would you have a 5 year old go through a root canal?

Asked by filmfann (39578 points ) April 13th, 2012

My daughter just took her 5 year old son to his first dentist visit, because one of his baby teeth is chipped (a molar). The dentist said he doesn’t want to pull the tooth, because it may cause the teeth to crowd. He also said the boy will need braces anyway.
The dentist wants to do a root canal, followed by having a cap put on the tooth.
This is a baby tooth! Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?

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32 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My dentist is a miracle-doer. With him, yes.

Ponderer983's avatar

I would get a second opinion to be sure, but if it’s going to help and it’s the best way – open wide!

tranquilsea's avatar

I’ve not heard of anything like this. She may want to go and get a second opinion.

My sister knocked her front baby tooth out and she went without until her adult tooth came in. But then, she didn’t have a space issue.

Plucky's avatar

I’ve never heard of a baby tooth getting a root canal ..that is very odd. It’s possible though.

Edit: Oh it’s a molar. The molar having a root canal is a bit more common (because of the spacing).

It wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion though.

filmfann's avatar

My son knocked out his two front upper teeth when he was about 3, and he didn’t need braces.

Sunny2's avatar

Get a second opinion and if the decision is the same, don’t fret. The baby won’t feel a thing. I was scared to death of a root canal,because of all I’d heard about the pain; but I really felt nothing because I was sufficiently out. The aftermath was not troublesome. Remember, if you’re afraid, so will the child be.

Trillian's avatar

I found links that seem to speak for and against in the case of baby teeth.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No. I would not.
We have a little friend (same age) with a serious amount of dental issues. She has no root canals (though she may need them for adult teeth). She has had much work done. She has had molars that needed pulling.

If this were my kid:
I’d have at least one more opinion by a specialist.
I’d agree to have it pulled. Further, if necessary I’d have a spacer put in…only if there was a strong reason to do so.

josie's avatar

Why do people think that baby teeth are disposable? They are there for a reason. If they were not, they would not be there.

JustPlainBarb's avatar

You need to consult another dentist .. maybe a pediatric dentist would be a good idea. It seems pretty extreme to me.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Yes. One of my sons jumped off a wall backwards and caught his two upper teeth on the wall coming down. Both teeth were “dying,” so the dentist did root canals to save them until the permanent teeth came in. He was three years old, and it was one of the most traumatic things I’ve ever been through with a child. It was no picnic for him, either. But in hindsight, I’m not sure we really had any choice.

6rant6's avatar

Geez… I’d think a 5-year-old would be too big to go through the BIRTH canal.

jonsblond's avatar

My youngest son cracked a molar about this age. The dentist pulled it and put a spacer between the teeth so there wouldn’t be a problem with crowding. It would be a couple years before his permanent tooth grew in.

He does have other options if your daughter isn’t comfortable with a root canal.

filmfann's avatar

They did mention having a spacer put in, instead of a crown, and the cost was the same as a crown and root canal.

Trillian's avatar

I think I’d prefer the spacer. If nothing else, the risk of a general anesthetic could be foregone.

Bellatrix's avatar

Yes, I did this for my son. Baby teeth guide the next set through. I never regretted spending the money on my son’s teeth. The next set came through fine. No braces, all straight, no crowding problems.

jca's avatar

My daughter has some cavities that were caused by abnormalities to her enamel, and two pediatric dentists recommended root canal. We just had two cavities filled a few weeks ago, and they use laughing gas, which the dentist said reduces anxiety and decreases pain. The root canal is going to be in May. I asked both dentists what would happen if the root canals aren’t done, and they both said that since these particular teeth are not going to come out until she’s like 11, the cavities will get worse and could damage the adult teeth. So root canal and cap it will be. Appt is scheduled in May.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, if the tooth is dying all sorts of complications can arise like abcessing, infection etc.
I was a tomboy and had a root canal at age 8 on a permanent front tooth. I was hit in the mouth with a baseball, then smacked my face into the side of the pool and chipped my front teeth and then, fell down the stairs a week later and hit my mouth on the steps. lol

It wasn’t that bad as I recall, really.
I had a fat lip or a black eye in every school picture from 2nd through 6th grade. haha

augustlan's avatar

I’d definitely get a second opinion, but if that’s the consensus, I’d have it done.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t understand how teeth crowd if one is pulled and a space is created. It seems they would crowd if there were no space? I never heard of it. Seems as if kids often lose a tooth and have an empty space until the new one comes in. How is this different?

I go with the second opinion advice. Where is @trailsillustrated, isn’t she a dentist??? maybe pm her see what she thinks.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Not on a baby tooth. That’s too much expense for a tooth that’s temporary.

jca's avatar

@MollyMcGuire: Depending on the age of the child and depending on the tooth (as in my example above) the tooth might be in there 7 or 8 more years, rotting and affecting the adult tooth below. That’s not exactly temporary, even though it’s a baby tooth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

??? Why can’t he pull it andput in a spacer or something? I’m not a dentist but…IDK.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@rooeytoo Oh, they could. Teeth can float if there is nothing stopping them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Coloma you were a clutz!!!

flutherother's avatar

I’ve never heard of this for a first tooth. It must be very badly chipped or just leaving it would be best.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@jca It can be pulled if it is harming anything. That’s my opinion. Do as you like. I doubt my pediatric dentist would suggest a root canal but if he did I would listen to his reasons.

jca's avatar

@MollyMcGuire: Maybe a good information gathering thing to do would be to ask your pediatric dentist to discuss root canals for kids, and under what circumstances does he/she believe they’re indicated, and under what circumstances does he/she believe they’re not recommended. Not sure if you have kids (so not sure if you have a pediatric dentist) but it’s always good to learn!

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@jca I don’t need suggestions. I didn’t ask the question. I responded to the OP. If a dentist told me my child needed a root canal I wouldn’t be discussing it on a Q and A site either.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^^ Down, girl, down.

fredTOG's avatar

it is fine it will take about 20 min to do the whole thing.

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