A pulpotomy is a procedure that removes any diseased or infected pulp from a tooth, along with cleaning the root surface of the tooth and replenishing the pulp chamber with healthy material. At Dental Care for Kids, this procedure is often performed when an infection threatens the health of the surrounding tissue, but the tooth is still salvageable. Pulpotomies are usually only performed on primary teeth because adult teeth are too fragile to withstand the procedure. The primary benefits of pulpotomy include pain relief, infection control, and preservation of the affected tooth.
What Causes the Need for a Pulpotomy?
There are several reasons why a tooth requires a pulpotomy. Sometimes a baby's tooth may decay before being lost naturally. In this case, the pulp of the baby's tooth becomes infected. If left untreated, the infection could spread to the permanent teeth forming below the baby's tooth. An infected baby tooth can trap bacteria and cause a sudden dental abscess. In these cases, a pulpotomy is usually performed to prevent the spread of infection to the other teeth and to relieve pain caused by the abscessed tooth.
In rare cases, an adult tooth may require a pulpotomy if the nerve inside the tooth dies due to trauma or extensive decay. When this happens, the tooth may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. A pulpotomy is carried out to relieve the pain and prevent the need for an extraction later. Though a pulpotomy will not restore the nerve inside the tooth, it will allow the area to heal before a permanent crown can be placed.
The Benefits of a Pulpotomy
The purpose of a pulpotomy is to treat a deep cavity, also known as a baby tooth, that is badly decayed. Pulpotomies are usually performed on children whose permanent teeth have not grown in yet and would allow them to keep their baby teeth until their adult teeth are ready to erupt. While the decision to perform a pulpotomy is usually made in the best interest of the child’s health, there are also several benefits for the patient to consider.
First, a pulpotomy will preserve your child’s tooth, allowing them to avoid an extraction and the resulting gap in their smile. This will ensure they have complete teeth for chewing and eating. A pulpotomy is also typically a simple procedure requiring just one appointment. If the treatment is successful, it will stop the spread of bacteria and prevent the infection from spreading to the tooth's roots. Lastly, if the infection spreads to the roots, a patient will likely be in pain and require root canal therapy or extraction. However, because the condition has not reached the root, the options for surgical treatment are limited to just an antibiotic regimen.
If your child suffers from a toothache and you suspect they need a pulpotomy, contact Dental Care for Kids at 3235 N Towerbridge Way Suite #200, Meridian, ID 83646, or call (208) 888-7711 to schedule an appointment.