A pulpotomy, also known as a baby root canal, is a restorative procedure used to treat damaged dental pulp in a deciduous tooth when the damaged pulp is contained within the tooth’s crown. Inside of every tooth is a soft inside layer known as the dental pulp which contains nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels.
A child’s dental pulp can become damaged due to untreated decay that turns into an infection or it can become inflamed due to dental trauma from an injury. It’s important to remove the physical source of the infection from the tooth.
Instead of a pulpectomy in a traditional root canal, a pulpotomy involves removing only the damaged pulp from the crown section of the tooth (the part above the gum line). A pulpotomy from our Edmonds office leaves the roots intact and a medicated filling is used to fill the tooth and encourage healing. The tooth will then be protected with a dental crown.
An indirect pulp cap is a procedure that aims to protect a tooth that has begun to experience decay. Without exposing the interior pulp, decay is removed from the dentin layer below the enamel before being sealed. The procedure may be completed with a dental filling or other restoration.
Pulpotomies are often referred to as “baby root canals.” Similar to traditional root canal therapy, the procedure involves the removal of infected dental pulp. However, instead of removing all of the pulp, only the topmost layer is extracted. This is a way to restore an infected baby tooth while keeping as much of the natural tooth structure intact.
Pulpectomies are reserved for baby teeth with more extensive decay. During this procedure, all of the pulp is removed from the tooth, all the way down to the roots, before being replaced with a resorbable material. A pulpectomy can help restore your child’s baby tooth, and keep it healthy until it’s ready to fall out.
The biggest signs that your child’s dental pulp has been damaged but is not so extensive that a pulpotomy cannot be performed to save the tooth are:
– An exposed nerve or chip in the tooth
– Tooth sensitivity (especially when consuming hot & cold food/drinks)
– Tooth pain
– Difficulty chewing
Upon having an oral exam and x-rays taken, if signs of decay are showing up within the dentin layer, your child will likely need a pulpotomy. However, if the decay extends beyond the tooth’s crown, a pulpectomy or extraction will be necessary.
The best way to determine if your child needs a pulpotomy is to come in for a consultation. If you live in Edmonds, Shoreline or Woodway, contact us at Thrive Kids Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Christie Lee today.
The purpose of a pulpotomy is to save your child’s baby tooth. Baby teeth play an important role in the eruption of permanent teeth and their tooth alignment. If a baby tooth is prematurely lost, the surrounding teeth will shift, causing orthodontic problems and the teeth can lean into this space, which will prevent the permanent tooth from being able to erupt.
A pulpotomy is a minimally invasive and cost-effective procedure that preserves the health of your child’s tooth. This ultimately saves time, money, and prevents the need for more complex and invasive procedures in the future. A pulpotomy is effective at curing tooth infections and relieving pain.