We’re told to avoid going to the dentist because of the coronavirus. In fact, our governor has pretty much shut down our state completely. Yesterday, my son started complaining that his tooth hurt. I looked back there and brushed his teeth. there seems to be a little bit of brown that could be decay. Today, though the gum by the tooth is red and has a swelling bump and he’s crying. I know I should probably take him to the dentist but I’m terrified he’ll get the virus if I do. What do you recommend?
I know the world seems scary right now. I can tell you love your son and want the best for him. Right now, the best thing for him would be to take him to see the pediatric dentist. I assure you, his dentist is just as concerned about the virus as you are and will take every precaution necessary to protect your son, his staff, and himself.
While it is true that many dental offices are closed right now because of the Coronavirus, there is an exception being made for urgent dental care. This is what your son is facing.
While the decay may look small, it could have gone deep instead of wide. The fact that his gum is inflamed and you’ve described what is very likely an abscess, I suspect this is what has happened. This means your son has a tooth infection. These are very painful, which you’ve noticed by your son’s tears.
Treating a Pediatric Tooth Infection
Unfortunately, the only way for a tooth infection to be treated is for the infected tissue to be physically removed. This is either done with a pulpotomy (the pediatric equivalent of a root canal treatment) or an extraction.
If it is a baby tooth and not a back molar, they’ll likely just extract the tooth. This isn’t as difficult for children as it is for adults because their primary teeth don’t have the same deep roots our adult teeth do.
If the infected tooth is a molar or an adult tooth, they will likely recommend a pulpotomy in the hopes of saving the tooth. This is important even for baby molars, which need to stay in place until your son’s twelve-year-old molars erupt. Without that, the adjacent teeth will shift and tip into the empty space, leading to crowding. It’s always best to prevent the need for braces if at all possible.
When a baby molar can’t be saved, a pediatric dentist should place a space maintainer there to keep the other teeth from shifting.
This blog is brought to you by the Akron Dentists at Angel Dental Care.