Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry

Root Canal vs. Filling vs. Crown: A Guide to Pediatric Dental Procedures

Root Canal vs. Filling vs. Crown: A Guide to Pediatric Dental Procedures

Reviewed by Dr. Henry Martinez, DMD

As parents, worrying about keeping your kid’s teeth healthy and strong is natural. To help you make informed decisions about your child’s dental care, we have created this guide to help you understand the three most common restorative dental procedures: root canals, dental fillings, and dental crowns

We’ll discuss when each procedure is necessary, what to expect during these treatments, and how to care for your child’s teeth.

Key Takeaway

Root canals treat severe decay by removing infected dental pulp, while fillings address minor cavities. Dental crowns are custom-made caps to restore weakened or damaged teeth. Remember, prevention through proper oral hygiene and a healthy diet is vital.

Root Canal Procedure: Save a Tooth From Extensive Damage

A root canal procedure is performed on decayed teeth with extensive damage to the dental pulp. Dental pulp is the soft tissue at the tooth’s center that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. Decay that reaches the dental pulp can cause pain, swelling, and potential tooth loss.

Symptoms your child may need a dental filling include:

  • Severe pain in the affected tooth
  • Swelling around the tooth, gums, or face
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Darkening of the tooth
  • A cracked tooth

Step-by-Step Root Canal Procedure

  1. First, your pediatric dentist will administer dental sedation to help your child relax. Then they will apply local anesthesia to numb the area around the affected tooth to ensure a pain-free procedure.
  2. Next, they will create an opening in the top of the tooth to access the dental pulp.
  3. The infected pulp is removed from the tooth’s root using specialized tools.
  4. The empty space is then thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to ensure all the bacteria is removed.
  5. A small amount of medication may be placed inside the tooth to prevent infection if necessary.
  6. The opening is sealed and a baby crown is placed on the tooth to restore it to its normal function.

Dental Fillings: Repair Small Cavities and Minor Tooth Decay

Dental fillings treat minor cavities and decay. This procedure involves removing the damaged tooth material and filling the cavity with amalgam, composite resin, or porcelain.

Symptoms your child may need a dental filling include:

  • Bad breath 
  • Visible pits or holes in the tooth
  • Pain while chewing or drinking
  • Dark spots on the tooth

Step-by-Step Dental Filling Procedure

  1. After administering local anesthesia and dental sedation, your dentist will clean the affected area to remove the decayed tooth material.
  2. The cavity is then cleaned and disinfected before being filled with the chosen dental material.
  3. If composite resin is used, it is hardened with a special light.
  4. The filling is shaped and polished to match the tooth’s natural shape.

Dental Crowns: Restore Damaged or Misshapen Teeth

Dental crowns are custom-made caps that are placed over weakened or damaged teeth. They can be made of metal, porcelain, or both.

Symptoms your child may need a dental crown include:

  • Extensive tooth decay or damage
  • A cracked or broken tooth
  • Misshapen, discolored, or weak teeth 

Step-by-Step Dental Crown Procedure

  1. Dental sedation is administered and the area around the affected tooth is numbed with local anesthesia. Once the area is frozen, any decayed or damaged material is removed. 
  2. The tooth is filed down to prepare it for the dental crown. Then a dental impression is taken to create a custom-fit crown.
  3. Once the crown is ready, it will be placed on the tooth. All crowns, whether zirconia or stainless steel, are placed on the same day.

How To Care for Your Child’s Teeth

Prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to your child’s dental health. Here are some tips to keep their teeth healthy and strong.

  • Healthy eating: Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet. Limit sugary drinks and snacks, as they can lead to tooth decay.
  • Oral hygiene: Teach your child the importance of brushing twice daily and flossing regularly. This removes food particles and reduces the risk of plaque buildup.
  • Fluoride toothpaste: Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. For children under three, use a smear of toothpaste, and for children three to six, use a pea-sized amount.
  • Regular dental exams: Schedule regular dental check-ups and dental cleanings. Regular visits allow for early detection and treatment of dental problems.
  • Dental sealants: Ask your pediatric dentist about applying sealants on your child’s molars. Sealants provide a protective layer that prevents food and bacteria from getting stuck in the crevices of the back teeth.

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry – Your Pediatric Dentist in Phoenix

Being informed is the first step toward maintaining your child’s dental health. With proper care and regular visits to the dentist, your child’s teeth can remain healthy and strong for years to come.   

Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry is dedicated to delivering top-notch dental care and education for kids. Our highly skilled pediatric dentist, Dr. Martinez, offers various services, from root canals and fillings to regular check-ups. With his expertise in hospital dentistry, he can provide comprehensive care for children at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 

If you are looking for a kid’s dentist in Phoenix, AZ, trust Dr. Martinez and his team for your child’s dental needs. Call (602) 935-7427 or complete the online booking form to schedule an appointment.

Additional Resources

Toothaches are no joke. For more information on prevention and treatments, check out this list of informative blogs we have put together.:

Contact Big Apple Pediatric Dentistry if you are searching for the ‘top pediatric dentist near me.’