Dentist Questions Root Canal Treatment

Why does my daughter need a root canal?

My dentist says that my daughter needs to have a root canal for two teeth in the back of her mouth. She's only 14. Are root canals common practice for 14-year-olds?

8 Answers

They are not, however, if the cavity invades the pulp of the tooth which contains blood vessels and nerves root canal to prevent abscess and infection.
A root canal is needed for any patient and tooth that has a large cavity or fracture that has reached the nerve tissue. It is a procedure that will rid the tooth of infection and provide functionality again.

Sorry to hear about your daugther's teeth. Yes, root canals are sometimes needed in a 14 year old. Most good dentist want to avoid it and don't like having to inform parents that this is the case. In any situation like this I always recommend getting a free second opinion.
Depends on many factors. Root canals are used to clean out infection inside the tooth. If decay/fractures go to the nerve of the tooth, it may need root canal therapy. Root canals maybe performed on 6-year-olds or younger with poor oral hygiene.
Not super common, but can happen.
You have taken your daughter to the dentist. You were told your daughter needs two root canals. Your daughter has not seen a dentist for over a year. EVERYONE needs to see a dentist twice a year. This is to check on any cavities and home care. EVERYONE should be flossing and brushing twice a day. Flossing and brushing has to be done correctly. If young people don't floss and brush correctly every day, this can happen. Parents sometimes have to take over the supervision of their children flossing and brushing. As far as the root canals are concerned. You have two choices. Get the root canals done or extract the teeth. Please do not leave two decaying teeth in your daughter's mouth. Your daughter will be having infection that can make her sick. Not everyone who has root canal will save the teeth. Sometimes root canals fail. It is the patient that root canal some how won't work. This is a difficult decision for you to make. Your daughter is too young for implants or permanent bridge work.
Root canals are not related to age, but are usually a product of oral hygiene. Better figure out why this happened before it happens to more teeth. 
Generally, root canal therapy is most often performed on middle aged or elderly patients. That being said, any tooth may require endodontic treatment at any age. If cavities progress into the pulp/nerve of the tooth, bacteria can begin growing. A bacterial infection in a tooth usually progresses from mild symptoms, to sharp pain at night to a dull ache as the bacteria kill the nerve of the tooth and eventually cause the bone and tissue around the tooth to feel painful. Sometimes, children will have deep fillings placed at a young age and as a teenager another cavity can occur around the old filling and wind up in the nerve of the tooth. A root canal is a dentist cleaning out the nerve and pulp inside a tooth to remove every trace of infection. If you have doubts about the necessity of a root canal, the best option would be to have her visit an endodontist. This a specialist in performing root canals. He or she can obtain X-rays and perform testing to verify exactly what is occurring inside the teeth and can let you know if the root canals are necessary. 

Marc D. Thomas, DDS