Pulpectomy & Pulpotomy
Most everyone is familiar with a root canal, but not everyone knows about pulpotomies. These are often called baby root canals and work in the same way, but each one has a different goal in mind for your tooth. Normally root canals are for adults and pulpotomies are mainly for children.
Depending on the outcome of your child’s examination, it will determine which one they will need, a root canal or pulpotomy. Based on the recommendation by the dentist, they will have to have a slightly different procedure depending on which one they need. We at Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry will work with you to save the damaged tooth, and that will stay the same no matter what procedure you get.
What Are They?
You will need a root canal when the pulp in a tooth gets damaged or infected. We then will remove the infected pulp and refill the tooth with a filling. Afterward, a crown is placed on your tooth to make sure it stays protected.
However, a pulpotomy is different in one critical aspect. Instead of removing all the dental pulp, we only remove the infected pulp on the visible part of your tooth. We typically perform this procedure on children, as their teeth still need dental pulp to grow and mature. The inner pulp is kept inside the tooth, where it stays intact, and the damaged outer pulp is removed.
Who Needs a Pulpotomy?
We use a pulpotomy only if the damage is on the outside of your tooth. If the baby tooth is able to be restored, then the infected pulp on the outside of your tooth can easily be stripped away. If the infection has gotten into the tooth, then it might have to be removed.
If your child has good oral health, then we will be able to perform the procedure and save your child’s tooth. Untreated cavities typically cause dental pulp to turn rotten, which is why good oral health is essential.
Why Not Use a Root Canal or Remove It?
Since a pulpotomy is used on baby teeth and those teeth fall out anyway, some people wonder why we even bother with it at all. Having baby teeth fall out or get removed too early can stop the correct growth of your child’s adult teeth, and it is not recommended to remove the tooth unless we have to.
Additionally, your child’s baby teeth will need as much healthy pulp as they can get to keep growing. Doing a typical root canal and removing all the pulp can further stunt the growth of your child’s teeth.
How Does the Procedure Work?
A ‘baby root canal’ works the same as its grown-up equivalent. Your child’s mouth is either numbed with an anesthetic, or we sedate them with mild anesthesia. The tooth decay is removed, and then the tooth is drilled into to check the health of the rest of your child’s mouth.
If you think that your child needs to see a dentist in order to discuss a Pulpotomy, then come see us at Starlight Smiles Pediatric Dentistry or call 571-833-1440 to get an appointment set up. We will be able to examine your child’s teeth and see what they need to get their mouth healthy again.