Children’s teeth are not immune to the same problems adults face. Cavities can weaken baby teeth. In fact, if cavities are not treated right away, the decay will progress into deeper parts of the tooth. Because the dentin and pulp that lie beneath the hard shell of enamel are softer materials, an infection could spread rather quickly. Ultimately, infection is quite painful. The deeper infection goes, the more risk there is for tooth loss.
It’s a Baby Tooth, so Why Try to Keep it?
One of the biggest questions parents have regarding the need for pulpotomy on a baby tooth is “why?.” Between the ages of 6 and 12, just about all of the teeth that are in place now will be lost and replaced with permanent teeth. However, baby teeth are necessary structures. They hold space in each arch for permanent teeth to grow into down the line. If a badly infected tooth must be extracted at age 4 or 5, that could set the stage for years of a gap in the mouth. Gaps allow surrounding teeth to move, which could set the stage for misalignment in permanent teeth. A pulpotomy can save natural tooth structure, eliminate pain, and prevent shifting.
Pulpotomy vs. Root Canal
Pulp therapies are often referred to under the blanket term “root canal.” There is a difference, though, and it is one that parents usually like. A root canal involves the removal of all pulp tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and the roots of a tooth. This is a last-straw type of treatment that is conducted when the entire pulp chamber has been invaded by bacteria. A pulpotomy treats only the uppermost part of the pulp chamber, avoiding disruption to the root system of the infected tooth.
Children 1st has been established to provide families a comfortable place to go for personalized dental care. Our patients’ comfort is our top priority, and many of our treatments include sedation. Pulpotomy involves removing decay from enamel, then carefully removing the pulp tissue that has been infected. Medicine is placed into the pulp chamber, and the core of the tooth is built up with tooth-colored material. We will take an impression of the tooth so a final crown can be placed in a follow-up visit, and a temporary crown may be affixed over the treated tooth for the interim.