Baby Root Canal: What is it?

If your baby is experiencing a toothache, it may be necessary to have a baby root canal (aka pulpotomy). This procedure can be daunting for parents, but it is important to understand the process and potential benefits of baby root canal treatment. In this article, we will discuss what a baby root canal is, what you can expect during the procedure, and how to care for your child’s teeth after the procedure.

What is a Baby Root Canal?

When the term baby root canal is used, there are two possibilities for what it means. Firstly, it could mean a pulpotomy, a dental procedure that removes some nerve tissue in baby teeth. Secondly, it could refer to a root canal done on a baby tooth, which is a more extensive procedure that removes all nerve tissue in baby teeth. Both these procedures are needed when a cavity has reached past the enamel (outer layer) of your teeth and into the pulp (inner layer) of your teeth, which is the area containing nerves and blood vessels.

Typically, in primary teeth (baby teeth), a baby root canal means a pulpotomy, as this is often seen as a better alternative to a root canal. A pulpotomy is less invasive, less costly, and doesn’t need to last as long as a root canal would. Therefore, for the purposes of this article, a baby root canal refers to a pulpotomy.

How Does a Baby Root Canal (Pulpotomy) Work?

In a pulpotomy, a dentist will numb the area using a local anesthetic. This will prevent your child from feeling any pain during the procedure. If your child is extremely scared, a sedative may also be given for them to take before the procedure.

Next, the dentist uses specialized tools and techniques to access the interior of the tooth and carefully remove damaged or diseased tissue. If any bleeding is observed, this is a good sign as it indicates that the baby’s tooth is still healthy. If bleeding is not observed, then the baby’s tooth may be too damaged for a pulpotomy, and extraction might be recommended. Unlike a root canal, a pulpotomy does not involve the complete removal of the pulp in the roots of a tooth. This makes it faster and less invasive than a traditional root canal.

After this has been completed, the area is cleaned, and a special medication is applied to the area. This helps prevent further infection and decay. Lastly, a filling or dental crown is placed to ensure the baby’s tooth is sealed and protected.

The reason that extraction is not the first thing a dentist will recommend is because baby teeth are important for the proper alignment of adult teeth, and they also help baby’s to learn how to chew and speak. Without them, the baby teeth can be prone to shifting and leading to misaligned adult teeth.

Caring for Your Child’s Teeth after a Baby Root Canal

After a baby root canal, it is important to take care of your baby’s teeth to make sure they remain healthy. This includes regular visits to the dentist and continuing proper oral hygiene, such as:

  • Brushing twice a day: You should brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and bacteria. Make sure to brush near your gumline and the back of your teeth. These are the most commonly missed spots.
  • Flossing at least once a day (recommended twice): Flossing can help remove plaque and bacteria from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach. Floss in a C-shape motion around each tooth, going below the gumline.

After treatment, it is important to understand the root cause of the issue so that it does not happen again. While your baby teeth will eventually fall out, poor oral hygiene can cause the same problems in the baby teeth to occur in the adult teeth.


Baby root canals are a safe and effective way of treating baby teeth when they become severely infected or decayed. This procedure can help prevent further infection, decay, and pain. After a baby’s root canal, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. If you have any questions about baby root canals or dental care for your baby, please contact your dentist, as they will be able to provide individualized advice.


The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.

No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.


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