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Root Canal in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

A root canal is a procedure to remove diseased pulp from your child's tooth. The pulp is tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels that fill the tooth roots. Each root secures your child's tooth to his or her gum and jawbone. Your child may need a root canal if the tooth is damaged or infected. An abscess (pocket of pus), cavities, or an accident or injury can also lead to a root canal. A root canal can be done on baby teeth and permanent teeth. Baby teeth are meant to fall out on their own. If a baby tooth comes out too soon, your child can develop bite or speech problems. A root canal can help save the tooth and give it time to fall out when it is ready.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has increasing pain in or around the tooth that does not go away with pain medicine.
  • Your child has new or increased swelling in his or her gums or face.
  • Your child has tooth pain that spreads up to his or her gums and cheek.

Contact your child's dentist or endodontist if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child's new filling or crown falls out or feels like it is out of place.
  • Your child's tooth cracks or breaks.
  • Your child's tooth hurts when he or she bites down.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to give this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not give your child other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to his or her healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antibiotics may be given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he or she has the flu or a fever and takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin or salicylates.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell the provider if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Help your child prevent gum disease:

  • Care for your child's teeth as directed. This may help prevent cavities, tooth injuries, and other tooth problems. Take your child to a dental provider regularly to have his or her teeth cleaned and checked.
  • Talk to your adolescent about not smoking. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause blood vessel damage and delay healing. Ask your adolescent's dental provider for information if he or she currently smokes and needs help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your adolescent's provider before he or she uses these products.

Follow up with your child's dentist or endodontist as directed:

Your child may need to return to have a temporary crown replaced with a permanent crown. He or she may also need more tests to make sure the tooth is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.