pediatric pulpotomy

Pulpotomy for Children

If your child has been complaining of a sore or painful tooth, they may need a pulpotomy.  A pulpotomy is the best way to relieve their pain, preserve their tooth, and keep it healthy until it falls out naturally and is replaced by an adult tooth.
But what’s involved, and how does the procedure work?
patient receiving dental zirconia crown
the pulpotomy procedure

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.

Contact Loma Linda Children's Dental Group to Schedule an Appointment Today!

If your child has been complaining about a painful tooth, it’s best to have it checked out right away. The sooner they can get help with a pulpotomy, the more likely it is that we will be able to save their tooth. So don’t wait. Contact Loma Linda Children’s Dental Group online or call us at (909) 796-2507 to get an appointment right away.
Your questions, our answers

Frequently Asked Questions about Pulpotomy

Does a pulpotomy hurt?

Not at all. Before the procedure begins, your child’s mouth will be numbed to ensure their comfort. We also offer IV sedation dentistry at our office, so that your child will be asleep for the procedure and won’t remember getting the dental work done. Which is a great option as well.
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.
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Emergencies 24/7/365

Emergency care is always a priority.  We hope that your child will never experience a dental emergency, but if it happens, we want you to know what to do.  We have an on-call doctor 24 hours/seven days/week for emergency situations for patients of record.

Call Loma Linda Children’s Dental Group office immediately for any trauma to your child’s teeth or jaw.  If your child’s teeth are broken or knocked out, put them in milk or your child’s own saliva. Avoid rinsing the teeth with water or wiping/scrubbing the teeth.

In the rare event in which you do not hear from us, please call Loma Linda University School of Dentistry Pediatric Clinic at (909) 558-4689 and you will be connected to the Emergency Room where a pediatric dental resident can help.

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