As trusted pediatric dental experts in Tampa Bay and Bradenton, we often see young patients with dental issues that require more advanced procedures than a routine cleaning. One common restorative procedure that we perform is a pulpotomy!
Here’s everything you need to know about the pulpotomy procedure, pulpotomy vs. pulpectomy, and more:
What is a pulpotomy for baby teeth?
A pulpotomy is a dental procedure performed on baby teeth that are decayed (due to cavities) or damaged. When teeth are damaged, the inner layers can become infected. If left untreated, infection in the pulp can spread and cause pain, swelling, and even abscesses (pockets of pus below the gum line).
During a pulpotomy procedure, the infected or damaged part of the pulp will be removed, while the healthy parts remain intact. A pulpotomy aims to prevent the spread of infection and preserve the tooth.
The pulpotomy procedure
To prepare for the pulpotomy procedure, we will first administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth. Next, we use a dental drill to create a small hole in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. The damaged or infected part of the pulp will be removed, and a medicated material will be placed on the remaining healthy pulp to help protect it and promote healing.
Finally, we fill the tooth with a dental filling material to restore its structure and function!
Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy: What’s the difference?
While a pulpotomy removes only the damaged part of the pulp, a pulpectomy is a more extensive procedure that involves removing all of the pulp from the tooth. This procedure is typically performed on adult teeth, as primary teeth will eventually fall out on their own.
However, in cases where a baby tooth is severely damaged or infected, a pulpectomy may be necessary to prevent further complications. Compared to a pulpotomy, a pulpectomy is a more invasive procedure that requires additional steps and may require a longer recovery period.
Child Pulpotomy vs. Tooth Extraction
When a baby tooth is severely damaged or infected, parents may wonder if it would be better to simply have a tooth extraction. While extraction is sometimes necessary, preserving the baby tooth can have several benefits!
Baby teeth serve as placeholders for permanent teeth, helping to guide their proper alignment and eruption. Additionally, early tooth loss can lead to speech and eating problems, and may even cause adjacent teeth to shift out of place. A pulpotomy can help preserve the baby tooth until it naturally falls out, avoiding these potential complications.
Our gentle care approach at Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
We have extensive training and experience in handling the unique needs and concerns of young patients! We understand that dental procedures can be scary or uncomfortable for children, which is why we take special care to ensure that they are comfortable and relaxed – before, during and after during their pulpotomy procedure.
We use child-friendly language and techniques to explain the procedure to children in a way that they can understand, and we take extra care to minimize any discomfort or pain during the procedure.
We’re proud to offer pediatric sedation dentistry options, including nitrous oxide (happy gas) to ease anxiety, as well as conscious sedation and general anesthesia for longer procedures or children in need.
Still have questions about a primary teeth pulpotomy?
A pulpotomy is a common and effective treatment for children with damaged or infected baby teeth. By removing the damaged part of the pulp and preserving the healthy part, we can help prevent the spread of infection and save the tooth.
If you suspect that your child may need a pulpotomy, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us or reach out to us! Our experts are here to evaluate your little one’s dental health and recommend the best course of treatment.