A pulpotomy is often referred to as a “baby root canal” and is used to treat decay in a child’s tooth. This is the standard treatment for infected or damaged dental pulp in a primary tooth when the decay is concentrated in the crown of the tooth.
This means the dental pulp in the root of the tooth is not infected and is, therefore, not removed. This enables us to preserve much of the child’s natural tooth as opposed to a pulpectomy in a traditional root canal. Pulpotomies only remove the infected dental pulp from the tooth’s crown.
We’ll first have your child come in for a consultation with the dentist so we can assess the tooth and take x-rays. This will reveal if the tooth is infected, if the decay has reached the root, and if the tooth can be saved with a pulpotomy.
If the pulp in the root is infected, the tooth may need to be extracted. We’ll then administer a local anesthetic to numb your child’s tooth. Using a dental drill, we will make an access hole into the tooth to reveal the dental pulp.
If the tooth is bleeding, this is a good sign, as it indicates that the pulp is healthy and will respond to a pulpotomy. If the pulp is dry or filled with pus, a pulpotomy cannot go forward. A traditional root canal or extraction will be needed.
We will then scrape out the infected pulp from the crown of the tooth. The remaining healthy pulp will receive sedative medication. This encourages healing and prevents sensitivity. After filling and sealing the tooth, it may be covered with a dental crown.
Signs that your child has an infected tooth that could require a pulpotomy include:
If your child is exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should contact us right away. Signs of tooth infection are considered a dental emergency and we will treat your child as soon as possible.
If your child doesn’t treat their tooth infection, it will only become worse. It will spread to the other teeth and can also spread to the face and neck or enter the bloodstream at which point, you can get sepsis. This can be fatal in serious cases.
However, your child is likely to be experiencing extreme pain before it reaches this point. If we catch the infection early enough, we will be able to restore the health of your child’s tooth with a pulpotomy.
Otherwise, more invasive restorative procedures may be necessary, such as a pulpectomy or an extraction. It’s important to preserve your child’s teeth, even if they are baby teeth that will fall out anyway. This is because these teeth maintain space in the mouth that prevents the teeth from shifting and guides the eruption of the permanent tooth.
Contact us at our Highland Village dental office today to schedule an appointment. We also take walk-ins but are better able to accommodate you if you give us a call first