Pulpotomy for Children
But what’s involved, and how does the procedure work?
What Is a Pulpotomy
A pulpotomy is a procedure used to restore infected baby (primary) teeth in kids.
Most commonly, baby teeth become infected due to untreated tooth decay (cavities). This happens when the cavity destroys the outer layer of the tooth, and attacks the soft pulp inside your child’s tooth. This pulp is full of nerves, so this usually causes a lot of pain and discomfort.
However, teeth can become infected due to oral trauma, too. If your child slips and falls and breaks or cracks a tooth, oral bacteria can enter the inside of the tooth and cause an infection, so it’s always important to get emergency care if your child experiences an oral injury.
Regardless of how the infection happens, the result is the same. Over time, the bacteria in your child’s mouth will attack the pulp inside the tooth, killing the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth. Eventually, your child’s tooth will die and fall out, unless you get help.
A pulpotomy is used to prevent tooth loss due to tooth infections. In this procedure, our doctors will open up your child’s tooth, remove infected and damaged pulp from the upper part of the tooth. Then, any remaining tooth pulp will be treated with a special medication that helps protect the remaining pulp from infection. After this, your child’s tooth will be protected with a filling or a crown, and the procedure is complete.
What is the Difference Between a Pulpotomy and a Root Canal?
A pulpotomy is often referred to as a “baby root canal,” because that’s basically what it is! It’s very similar to a root canal that’s done on a baby tooth. However, there are some major differences.
A root canal is also known as a “pulpectomy.” In this procedure, all of the pulp from your child’s tooth, including the roots, is removed and then replaced with a special material placed into the canals of the roots. In adult teeth the nerve is removed and then replaced by a special rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.”
Pulpotomies are different. In a pulpotomy, most of the natural pulp is preserved. This keeps the tooth vital (alive). This is important for baby teeth, because the tooth’s roots are not yet mature. Keeping the tooth alive lets the roots continue to grow and mature, and can help ensure the adult teeth erupt properly.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Pulpotomy
Does a pulpotomy hurt?
Your child’s tooth may feel a little bit sore after a pulpotomy, but it will hurt a lot less compared to a toothache caused by a tooth infection, so a pulpotomy is actually a great way to provide your little one with relief from their pain and discomfort.