When your child gets a tooth injury, you may be feeling worried about how it is going to be fixed. With Apexification Therapy, the tooth can be saved. Apexification therapy encourages the root of your tooth to continue to grow and develop as the damaged or infected pulp is healed.
Apexification and apexogenesis are the best means of preserving your child’s teeth in emergency situations. When teeth in older children or adults are damaged, a root canal is often the best option. However, when younger children sustain similar injuries, these methods may not be the best possible approaches.
Fortunately, young children usually heal rather quickly. An experienced Buffalo endodontist can use advanced pulp therapy techniques to restore the damage and promote healthy long-term tooth development.
How Apexification Therapy Can Help Children
Researchers now believe that two regenerative genes – IMP1 and Lin28a – are very active in fetuses and gradually weaken as the person gets older. This explains why children heal much faster than adults, especially when it comes to bone tissue. Some doctors believe that this “genetic fountain of youth” may one day have amazing applications, but when it comes to endodontics, this difference has amazing applications today.
Because children heal more quickly from bone trauma injuries, they can also heal much more quickly, and much more effectively, from traumatic tooth injuries. Moreover, some of the traditional therapies used in adults, like crowns and bridges, may not be best for children, because replacing some teeth may inhibit future growth. Also, since a child’s jaw is still developing, young children are generally not candidates for implants and related procedures. This is where apexification therapy can help.
Apexification Treatment Options
Two essential components to saving a child’s teeth after a traumatic injury are keeping the pulp alive and restoring the root. After an avulsion or extrusion (partial dislodging), the pulp can usually be kept alive without medication for between thirty minutes and two hours. Then, an endodontist can use apexification therapy involving one of several medicines to sustain tooth pulp, including:
- CaOH: Tried and true Calcium Hydroxide has yielded effective results in many patients since it was first used in 1936.
- MTA: The Food and Drug Administration approved Mineral Trioxide Aggregate in 1998, and it is fast becoming the medication of choice, because it has fewer side effects and forms a better seal than CaOH.
CaOH and MTA are both powders that become gel-like pastes when added to water.
If the pulp can be salvaged, which is possible in most cases, an experienced endodontist can salvage your child’s teeth through one of two procedures on the roots:
- Apexogenesis: As either CaOH or MTA restores the pulp, the roots continue to develop and may only need monitoring and occasional minor intervention to reach maturity.
- Apexification: In some cases, diseased or damaged pulp must be gently extracted to make room for healthy cells. Endodontists then strengthen the root apex (tip) and closely monitor the patients to watch for hairline tooth cracks and other fractures.
Apexogenesis and Apexification therapy usually takes between six weeks and eighteen months, depending on the patient’s general health, age, and extent of tooth damage.
If your child has a traumatic tooth injury that needs treatment, please call our Dr. Aaron McCann and his team of dedicated Buffalo root canal specialists today for a pain-free experience.
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