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Ask Dr. George McKee Your Own Question
Dr. George McKee
Dr. George McKee, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 1396
Experience:  Licensed dentist with 30 years clinical experience in general practice and cosmetic reconstruction.
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Should a three year old get a root canal, or should the ...

Customer Question

Should a three year old get a root canal, or should the tooth just be pulled?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 8 years ago.

Dear ,

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer.

Although in the surface it seems much easier to have the baby tooth removed rather than proceed with the root canal procedure, there are some negative consequences to taking the baby tooth out at this age.

The baby teeth are intended to help guide the permanent teeth into place at the time when the baby tooth normally comes out. This baby tooth is supposed to remain in the mouth for at least three more years. Taking the baby tooth out now will delay the permanent tooth erupting when it should. In addition the presence of the empty space will cause the baby teeth adjacent to it to drift inward toward the empty space causing a misalignment of the teeth. This will throw off the alignment of the permanent teeth that are supposed to follow these drifted baby teeth as well.

And finally, if this is a front baby tooth, its absence may interfere with your child's ability to properly pronounce certain key sounds of speech, particularly the "th", "t" and "v" sounds.

A baby tooth root canal is a very simple procedure, not like an adult tooth root canal. A baby tooth root canal takes about 10 minutes to do and your child would be in and out of the chair in about 15 minutes total in an experienced children's dentist office and is actually less of a traumatic experience than having the tooth removed.

I hope this answers your question. If you would like to discuss this further or have any additional questions, please reply to my answer and I will get right back to you.


Dr. George McKee and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you so much. That's what I needed to hear explained again (and to explain to my husband.)

We went to our pediatric dentist and he gave both options, but recommended the root canal. My concern was the trauma involved versus pulling. Also, it will cost $300 after insurance, but hey, anything for my children.

Thank you for the advise. I'll pass it along to my husband.
Expert:  Dr. George McKee replied 8 years ago.


You are most welcome. I wish you well.


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