Baby root canal (pulpotomy) vs. adult root canal

Dentist Gina Gonzalez, DDS, explains the differences between how root canals are performed on baby teeth and permanent teeth
The Difference Between A Root Canal For Children and an Adult Root Canal
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Baby root canal (pulpotomy) vs. adult root canal

A root canal on a primary tooth or a baby tooth is done when there's decay and it is extensive and it goes into the second layer of tooth and then into the nerve, which is the third layer of tooth. In order to save the tooth, you remove part of the nerve and you seal it off so that there isn't any bacteria going further into the tooth. You want to do baby root canals to help that primary tooth stay in until the tooth is ready to come out, because that tooth holds the space for the permanent tooth. And that way the child's mouth can develop at an appropriate time and teeth aren't coming in too early or they're not blocked off by other teeth. An adult root canal is a much more technique sensitive procedure. It is usually done one, maybe two appointments. It's done now with the use of a microscope. It's again decay that's gotten into the nerve of the tooth and the little fiber that exists inside the tooth must be removed very meticulously. And that's removed with special tools and then the tooth after that would need to be covered with a crown because you're losing the lymphatics, the arteries, and the veins once the nerve is gone. And the tooth becomes petrified and actually much more desiccated. And to protect the tooth, you cover it with a crown. A baby tooth, you do not need to cover it with a crown always, and it is a tooth that is lost later on and a permanent tooth comes in underneath, so it's a very different procedure.

Dentist Gina Gonzalez, DDS, explains the differences between how root canals are performed on baby teeth and permanent teeth


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Gina Gonzalez, DDS


Dr. Gina Gonzalez, DDS has been interested in dental care most of her life. She started working as a dental assistant in high school.  After graduating, she pursued her career by attending the University of Southern California from which she earned a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene in 1982.  She was involved in creating new standards for dental hygiene in Spain where she also developed a dental hygiene school.

Dr. Gina Gonzalez earned her doctorate of dental surgery from the USC School of Dentistry in 1991.  As a lifelong learner, Dr. Gonzalez continues to study preventive and esthetic dentistry at renowned educational institutions all over the United States.  Her certifications include CEREC technology and Invisalign.  In addition to providing superb dental services to patients in her office, she dedicates her knowledge and skill to many philanthropic projects in the community and worldwide.  Annually, she is involved in a dental mission to Guatemala in which she provides dental care to people who would go without it otherwise.  She also regularly serves the elderly in Southern California through the Oral Eldercare Program. Dr. Gina Gonzalez is part of the USC School of Dentistry Board of Directors and is a member of the American Dental Association and the California Dental Association.   

In her leisure time, she enjoys Salsa dancing, participating in the art of Krav Maga and entertaining her two wonderful daughters.

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