Does my 10 Year Old Need Root Canals? (photo)

My 10 year old cracked the roots of his two top front teeth horizontally midway between the gumline and the tip of the roots. An endodontis told us that root canals are neccessary on both teeth. He expained that both teeth are dead and will become infected. My son is not in pain and has no sensitivity to hot or cold. No testing was done on the teeth other than x-rays. The teeth have been splinted across the 4 front teeth. Are the root canals necessary? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 5

Root Canals For Front Teeth That Have Fractures

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is common for teeth to need root canals that have had trauma.  The nerves (pulp chambers) of these teeth slowly die and many times become infected.  The teeth do not have to be hot or cold sensitive to need a root canal.  Many times if the nerve is necrotic there may not be symptoms present.  If you have seen an Endodontist for a consultation and root canals were recommended this would be the treatment that you should pursue for your son.  If you are still not comfortable with this then seek out a second opinion.  Good luck.  

Why an endodontist?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

A competent GP or pediatric dentist can make the call. My guess is that the radiograph(x-ray) showed fracturing thru the pulp chamber and that is why you  they told you root canal therapy was needed. Good call Leonard! Mauricio, a second opinion is not a bad idea--but why a board certified endodontist? Why not a board eligible endodontist or a competent GP or Pedo? Good explanation of the follow-up!

Douglas Decker, DDS
San Diego Dentist

10 year olds may or may not need root canal for fractured teeth

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

They key here is where the fracture ocurred. If is is true that the fracture is in the ROOTs midway between the gumline and the tip of the root, then this is more complex and you should seek a second opinion from a board certified  endodontist. If there is dental school nearby you could see one of the endodontic faculty for this. 10 year olds have large pulps which have good capacity to heal. If the root fracture is not displaced, its possible the root will heal. If its displaced, then its more complicated. Regardles of what happens, these teeth need to be followed up long term with X-rays and testing.

If the fracture is NOT in the roots but it is on the tooth part (part you can see without X-ray), then it depends if the pulp was exposed with the fracture or not. Again, 10 year olds heal very well and may not need the root canals.

Either way, teeth must be tested  for pulp vitality at 1 month, 3 month, 6month intervals and followed up long term.

If you send the X-ray, it would make it easier to give advise.

Hope this helps

Dr. T

Mauricio C. Tijerino, DMD
Miami Beach Dentist

You might also like...

Root canal on 10 year old

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


The photo that you have submitted does not help in determing whether your son needs a root canal.  If you saw an endodontist about the problem and he says the teeth are dead than they need root canal.  


Root Canal on Front 2 Teeth

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is NOT possible to tell anything from the photo submitted. A qualified endodontist should be able to do a pulp vitality test to determine if the nerves are "dead". If they are dead, then he should do Root Canal even though there are no other symptoms at the present time.

Jay Neuhaus, DDS
New York Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.