Treating a Child's Damaged Tooth

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Young children can be prone to accidents as they learn to control their developing bodies. While most accidents result only in minor cuts or bruises, some could result in serious damage to a tooth. Repairing a child's damaged tooth can be a complex process because their young permanent teeth are still developing.

Here are three potential ways that your dentist could address a child's damaged permanent tooth in the future.

1. Removal of the damaged dentin.

If the damage to your child's tooth is minor and the pulp hasn't been exposed, then your dentist can likely minimize the risk of developmental problems by opting to remove only the damaged dentin. This ensures that there will still be a barrier of natural dentin in place to protect your child's permanent tooth pulp as the tooth develops.

Once the damaged dentin is removed, your dentist will apply a topical antibacterial agent before filling the tooth to help ward off infection in the future.

2. Removal of the damaged pulp.

When some of you child's permanent tooth pulp has been exposed as a result of an injury, your dentist may need to perform a procedure known as a pulpotomy in order to address the damage. This procedure requires the removal of damaged dentin and damaged pulp.

Once the damaged pulp (and any overgrown tissue in the area) has been removed, your dentist can coat your child's permanent tooth with a substance that encourages the developing dentin to continue growing. If the damaged pulp is located near the root of your child's tooth, then an additional procedure that encourages the pulp to form a root end may be required to stabilize the developing tooth.

3. Complete removal of the pulp.

Serious injury could result in damage to your child's tooth pulp that is so severe the pulp cannot be salvaged. In these instances your doctor will clean out the pump entirely and fill the root canals with a growth-stimulating substance that will encourage the bone and tissue surrounding the tooth to heal properly.

The tooth's dentin and root growth will need to be monitored, since total pulp loss could compromise the tooth's ability to develop properly. 

When you understand the varied ways in which a dentist can treat a damaged tooth, it will become easier to make the treatment choices that serve the best interests of your child's developing teeth the next time his or her young permanent tooth sustains an injury.

Talk to a dentist such as John S. Lyon DDS for more information.