A pulpotomy is also known as a “baby root canal,” because the process is similar to a root canal, and the treatment is used for the same purpose, but is usually used on baby teeth rather than adult teeth.
A pulpotomy is used to remove infected pulp from your child’s baby tooth to keep it healthy and preserve it. With a pulpotomy, your child can keep their baby tooth until it falls out naturally, even if it’s become infected due to an oral injury or a large, untreated cavity. Contact us now to schedule an appointment for your little one at Cavity Patrol Pediatric Dentistry.
Cavities are the most common preventable childhood disease in kids of all ages. An untreated cavity can lead to a tooth infection that requires a pulpotomy!
First, Dr. Chun or Dr. Julia will clean and numb your child’s mouth to prepare them for the procedure, and ensure they can remain completely comfortable. We also offer sedation for all patients at Cavity Patrol Pediatric Dentistry.
Dr. Julia or Dr. Chun will remove damaged and decayed pulp from inside of the tooth. Then, the inside of the tooth will be sanitized and cleaned.
A special healing dressing is placed over the remaining healthy pulp to preserve. Then, the tooth will be covered and protected with a filling or a crown, completing the procedure.
Pulpotomies are necessary whenever a child’s baby tooth has been damaged and the interior “pulp” has become infected. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that maintain the vitality of the tooth. If it’s infected, it will continue to decay, and eventually the tooth itself will die and fall out.
This usually happens because of two reasons. First, an oral injury can result in a serious chip, crack, or broken tooth. This may expose the pulp and cause it to become infected, so a pulpotomy is usually necessary to restore it.
Or, more commonly, a pulpotomy may be required due to a large, untreated cavity. If the cavity eats through the outer layers of the tooth, the bacteria can infect the pulp and cause a tooth infection that will require a pulpotomy from our Cypress office.
Not quite. In a root canal, all of the pulp is removed, and then the tooth is filled with an inert material to keep it strong and preserve it for as long as possible.
But in a pulpotomy, only some of the pulp is removed. Pulp that looks healthy will be left in place, and a dressing is applied to help it heal. This is better for baby teeth, since leaving the pulp in place can help ensure the adult teeth erupt properly in the future.
Your child needs a pulpotomy if their tooth is infected and the infection is concentrated in the crown of the tooth. The following signs suggest your child likely needs a pulpotomy:
- Swelling - If you notice swelling in the cheek or jaw region of the face, this is a sign of inflammation that can indicate an infection.
- Tooth sensitivity - If your child is experiencing tooth sensitivity, especially when they eat hot or cold foods, that lingers after the food is no longer being consumed, this is another sign of a tooth infection.
- Pain that comes and goes - Your child’s tooth may be causing them pain, tenderness, and discomfort that is especially present at night.
- Signs of a damaged tooth - If your child has chipped or cracked their tooth as a result of dental trauma, this can cause inflammation and a tooth infection.
- Loose tooth - Your child’s tooth suddenly feels loose for no explainable reason
A pulpotomy is a cost-effective and minimally invasive restorative treatment with a high success rate. It can prevent a tooth infection from becoming worse because it is used to treat infections that have not yet reached the tooth’s root.
Once the infection has infected the roots of the tooth, a pulpotomy can no longer be performed and a root canal will be necessary. By undergoing a pulpotomy, you prevent the need for a more invasive treatment like a root canal or an extraction.
A pulpotomy also prevents the infection from spreading to your other teeth or into the bloodstream. In rare cases, this can be fatal because it can cause sepsis. A pulpotomy in Cypress or Katy prevents complications that can arise from an untreated infection in your child’s teeth.
Pulpotomies preserve the health of a tooth until it is really to fall out naturally. Even though baby teeth will fall out on their own, they serve a very important purpose in your child’s oral health. For one, they help maintain their smile and assist with chewing and speaking.
However, even more importantly, they maintain space in the mouth. If your child loses a tooth from an infection, they will need to wear a space maintainer to prevent their teeth from shifting and blocking the eruption of the permanent tooth.
Losing a tooth will also cause irreversible bone loss that will change your child’s facial structure and cause premature facial sagging. While adult teeth can be replaced with a dental implant to prevent bone loss, primary teeth can’t.
While it is in your child’s best interest to get a pulpotomy when possible, sometimes we won’t be able to save the tooth. If the infection has spread too deep into the tooth and has reached the roots, this will no longer be possible. In that case, we may try performing a root canal.
Rarely, the tooth cannot be saved due to extensive untreated tooth decay and needs to be extracted. Contact us at Cavity Patrol Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Julia or Dr. Chun and find out if your child’s tooth can be saved with a pulpotomy.