Everything Parents Need to Know About Pediatric Root Canals

May 22, 2024

Root canals for kids can sound pretty scary, right? I mean, even hearing “root canal” used to give everyone chills. But things have changed a lot, especially in how we do Pediatric root canals for kids at pediatric dentistry centers like ours at Avery Dental Center in Dublin, Ohio.

So, what’s the deal with pediatric root canals? Well, let’s break it down step by step.

Root Canals in Pediatric Dentistry

Treatment Length


As short as 6 months, with an average of 12 to 18


Average of 12 to 24 or more, depending on the type and severity of malocclusion

Can treatment be expedited?


Wear aligners for 20+hours a day, keep teeth and aligners clean, visit the dentist regularly to monitor progress


Visit the clinic as directed for adjustments, keep teeth and brackets/wires clean and free of plaque, avoid habits that could increase treatment time



Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to gently scrub aligners


Use an interdental toothbrush and water flosser to remove plaque and bacteria from around brackets and wires



Keep teeth and aligners clean for best results


Keep teeth and brackets/wires clean for best results



Yes, aligners are designed to be removed while eating/drinking and while brushing/flossing teeth


No, traditional braces cannot be removed until treatment is complete, and the dentist is the only one that should remove them

Visits to dental clinic


Periodically, you need to visit the dental clinic to monitor your progress


Yes, you will need to visit the clinic every few weeks as teeth shift for adjustments

How much does it cost?


Starts at approximately $1,500 for up to 5 aligners and goes up to around $8,000 for unlimited aligners


Costs an average of $3,000 to $5,000+, depending on several factors



Virtually invisible




Does not require compliance- once braces are attached, they are not removable except by the dentist upon completion of treatment

Ideal for


Mild to moderate malocclusions, can be used for more severe along with attachments, depending on the type of malocclusion


Mild to severe malocclusions

Let’s take a quick look at pediatric root canals—what they involve and how safe they are. This info can be really helpful for parents who might be feeling a bit nervous or unsure about the procedure.

What is a pediatric root canal?

A root canal is a treatment that helps fix a kid’s tooth by removing the infected or damaged pulp inside. This pulp contains nerves and blood vessels and keeps the tooth anchored to the gums and jawbone. Kids might need a root canal if their tooth gets infected, has cavities or an abscess, or if they’ve had an injury or accident that hurt the tooth. These situations call for treatment to save the tooth and keep the mouth healthy.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Tooth Decay in Children?

Understanding the factors and symptoms contributing to tooth decay in children is pivotal for preventive care:

Factors Contributing to Tooth Decay:

Tooth decay in children can result from various factors, including poor dietary habits, inadequate oral hygiene practices, and genetic predisposition. Sugary snacks, lack of regular brushing and flossing, and a family history of dental issues can all contribute to decay.

Symptoms Parents Should Watch For:

Parents should be vigilant for signs such as tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet foods, persistent toothache or pain, and noticeable tooth discoloration. These symptoms can indicate underlying tooth decay and should prompt a visit to the pediatric dentist for evaluation and treatment.

Many parents opt for a Pediatric root canal procedure to overcome the damage caused by a damaged tooth.

What is a Pediatric Root Canal Procedure?

Here are the steps of a pediatric root canal procedure:

Preparation and Anesthesia:

The pediatric dentist will first discuss the procedure with parents to address any concerns. To ensure the child’s comfort, the dentist may use kid-friendly tools. The dentist will then apply a topical anesthetic to numb the area before administering a local anesthetic to the affected tooth and surrounding gums.

Accessing the Pulp Chamber:

Using a dental drill, the dentist carefully accesses the pulp chamber, which houses the tooth’s nerve and blood vessels. This step is vital for removing the infected or damaged pulp effectively.

Cleaning and Disinfection:

Specialized files are used to clean out the infected pulp from the pulp chamber. The dentist then uses medicated solutions to thoroughly disinfect the area, ensuring the removal of any remaining bacteria.

Sealing and Restoration:

Depending on the extent of damage and the tooth’s location, the dentist will either use composite resin to fill the tooth or place a dental crown over it for protection and restoration. This step helps prevent further infection and restores the tooth’s functionality.

Post-Procedure Care:

After the root canal, the child’s tooth pain should significantly reduce. However, they may experience mild discomfort for a few days as the tooth heals. The dentist will provide guidance on post-procedure care, including proper oral hygiene and any necessary pain management.

What are the safety concerns with pediatric root canals?

Many parents worry about how safe root canals are for kids. It can be especially scary when the child is very young and may not fully understand what’s happening. Plus, the idea of using sedatives can be a concern because of possible side effects afterward. But it’s important to know that pediatric root canals are generally safe and really important for a child’s dental health.

Pediatric dentists only suggest a root canal when it’s really necessary, usually when a tooth is in bad shape. If not treated, the tooth could cause a lot of pain and even affect nearby teeth and gums. That’s why it’s crucial to take care of it.

Pediatric dentists are specially trained to do these procedures safely. They know how to be gentle and make sure the child is comfortable throughout the process, keeping both the tooth and the child’s overall health in mind.

How long does it take to recover from a pediatric root canal?

The recovery time after a pediatric root canal varies depending on factors such as the complexity of the procedure and the child’s individual healing process. In general, most children experience some level of discomfort or sensitivity for a few days following the root canal. This discomfort typically improves gradually as the tooth and surrounding tissues heal. However, full recovery, including the placement of a permanent restoration like a dental crown, may take a few weeks to complete.

Aftercare of Root Canals

You must follow instructions given by the pediatric dentist for optimal recovery.

  • Use any prescribed pain relief medication as directed for comfort.
  • Limit the child’s diet to soft foods as advised post-treatment.
  • Ensure the child gets adequate rest to support healing.
  • Encourage regular and gentle brushing and flossing post-operation.
  • Schedule follow-up appointments with the dentist for monitoring and further guidance.


Having a good understanding of pediatric root canals is crucial for parents looking out for their children’s dental well-being. Learning about the procedure, how to care for your child afterward, and openly discussing any concerns with a pediatric dentist are key steps toward ensuring a healthy smile for your child. Remember, at Avery Dental Center in Dublin, Ohio, we’re committed to providing exceptional dental care to meet your child’s needs. 

Schedule an appointment online or contact us with any questions you may have. New patients can call us at 614-683-9557, while current patients can reach us at 614-789-9000.


Here are some suitable food options they can consider:

  1. Soft Fruits: Applesauce, mashed bananas, ripe peaches, or canned fruits without seeds.
  2. Cooked Vegetables: Steamed carrots, mashed potatoes, well-cooked squash, or soft-cooked green beans.
  3. Dairy Products: Yogurt, pudding, milkshakes, or soft cheeses.
  4. Grains: Cooked rice, oatmeal, soft bread without crusts, or pasta.
  5. Proteins: Scrambled eggs, soft-cooked chicken or fish, smooth nut butter, or tofu.
  6. Soups: Clear broths, pureed vegetable soups, or creamy soups without chunks.

A typical pediatric root canal procedure usually lasts about an hour. However, if a child has difficulty sitting still for that duration, the treatment can be broken into segments to allow for necessary breaks.

Parents can prepare their children by explaining what will happen during the procedure in a simple and reassuring way. Assuring the child that there will be medication to prevent pain can be comforting.

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