To try to save a decaying tooth, dentists often perform a pulpotomy. This involves taking the pulp out of a tooth’s crown. In most cases, children undergo this procedure, which a dentist may pursue when the tooth decay is limited to the crown of the tooth. Occasionally, a dentist will perform a pulpotomy on an adult. The pulp in the root remains, and the patient preserves the tooth.
A successful pulpotomy will save the tooth and avoid a full pulpectomy, which requires removing the pulp in the tooth roots and filling them with cement.
What Is a Pulpotomy?
A pulpotomy is when the inflamed pulp chamber, usually on a baby molar, is removed, the area is sterilized, and the chamber is sealed. It is sometimes called a baby tooth root canal, but it’s not really a root canal and it can be done in some cases in permanent teeth. It is a very common procedure in children and has a reasonably good prognosis of success. It’s also fairly easy to do in conjunction with associated procedures.
Pulpotomies have reasonably good prognosis. It may buy some time, but cannot save an already abscessed tooth. It is often surprising how a seemingly small area of decay can be deep enough to reach the pulp. This is often due to the varied anatomy of baby teeth and the rapid progression of decay.
Although a very reliable procedure, rarely, a tooth with a pulpotomy will have complications and need to be extracted. This is usually due to the remaining pulp tissue in the root canals that becomes infected, Bottom line: a pulpotomy is a really good and reliable way to save a badly decayed baby tooth.
Who Can Get Pulpotomies?
Children in good health with generally strong teeth and good dental hygiene make the best candidates for a pulpotomy. The tooth below the crown should be strong and capable of withstanding some pressure.
Kids who have health conditions such as leukemia or tumors may not be suited to pulpectomies. These patients are more susceptible to bacterial infections that can result from the procedure.
The Benefits of Getting a Pulpotomy
There are many reasons to pursue a pulpotomy for your child. The most important is reducing your child’s pain. A decaying tooth can be very uncomfortable, and the sooner it gets fixed, the better. A pulpotomy is a fast and effective way to address the discomfort. Your child will also enjoy other advantages of getting a pulpotomy:
- The tooth stays in the mouth: Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth. By keeping them in place, your child maintains the positioning in the mouth for the adult teeth once they grow in. Losing a baby tooth can result in less space for the adult teeth to grow in.
- Protect against more serious problems: Not getting a pulpotomy can lead to dental conditions such as an abscess and may require the tooth to be removed. You can save money in the long term by getting this treatment now instead of waiting for the next step.
- Safe and effective: Pulpotomies are a low-risk procedure, and are performed frequently with no ill effects.
Where Are Pulpotomies Performed?
Your family dentist can perform a pulpotomy at their office. This routine procedure likely requires an appointment made in advance. It generally takes a half-hour to 45 minutes to complete the pulpotomy.
To prepare your child for a pulpotomy, you may want to bring a favorite stuffed animal or another comfort item. At our offices in Florida, we create a peaceful atmosphere where your child can relax. We play soothing music or provide noise-canceling headphones. A parent can remain with the child during the procedure.
After we finish, your child may have mild swelling in the mouth. Over-the-counter medicine can assist with any lingering discomfort.
Contact Us for Pulpotomy Care in Florida
If your child has pain related to tooth decay, contact our office today to set up an initial appointment. We can examine the tooth and determine if a pulpotomy is the best treatment. Our friendly team can also answer your questions about the procedure and discuss your child’s dental options.