Pulp Treatment

What Is A Pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy, also known as a “baby root canal,” is a procedure performed on a tooth that has pulpitis (damaged dental pulp). Inside of your tooth, there is a soft center known as the dental pulp which contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. 

When decay is left untreated, it can spread to the dental pulp, leading to inflammation or infection. This can also occur when a child has suffered from dental trauma. Since dental pulp contains nerves responsible for sensation, a tooth infection can be incredibly painful.

The only way to treat a tooth infection is to remove the source. In deciduous teeth, we perform something known as a pulpotomy which is the removal of the dental pulp that is located in the crown of the tooth. The crown of the tooth is the portion that is visible above the gums.

During a pulpotomy, we will remove the damaged dental pulp from the crown of the tooth, but leave the remaining dental pulp and roots intact. A medicated filling is placed in the tooth to encourage healing and protect the tooth’s roots from sensitivity. Pulpotomies performed in rear molars should be protected with a dental crown.

What Are the Signs My Child Needs a Pulpotomy?

  • Severe pain that comes and goes
  • Abscess
  • Prolonged tooth sensitivity
  • Swelling around the tooth & gums
  • Tenderness when you touch the tooth

If you notice any of these signs, your child may have pulpitis. Contact us at ToothTown Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tom or Dr. Lulu.

What Is the Difference Between a Pulpotomy and a Root Canal?

Both pulpotomies and pulpectomies involve removing the dental pulp from the tooth. However, where they differ is in how much dental pulp is removed, and whether or not the roots are left intact. A pulpotomy involves removing only the crown portion of the dental pulp and the tooth’s root is left alone. 

In contrast, a pulpectomy removes all of the dental pulp in the tooth as well as the nerves. Pulpotomies are less invasive than pulpectomies and preserve the tooth’s root until the deciduous tooth is ready to fall out naturally.

The tooth’s canals are also cleaned and reshaped before filling the tooth and placing a dental crown. A pulpotomy is typically only performed on a deciduous tooth or a tooth where the inflamed pulp is confined to the crown of the tooth.

Are Pulpotomies Painful?

No, a pulpotomy is not painful because we administer a local anesthetic before removing the dental pulp. Your child’s mouth will be completely numb and the procedure is as painless as a routine dental filling. 

Minor pain or swelling may be experienced after the procedure, once the anesthetic has worn off. However, the pain should be mild and can be managed with anti-inflammatory pain medication. A pulpotomy is an effective procedure in relieving infection-related tooth pain.