What’s a Pulpotomy? Pain Relief for Tiny Teeth
The pulp is found in the center of each tooth and consists of tissue, nerves, and blood vessels, which work together to provide oxygen and nutrients that keep them healthy and strong. If one or more teeth suffer a traumatic injury or decay, the pulp can become inflamed or infected. When this happens in a child’s primary or baby tooth, your dentist Dr. Ryan Whalen may recommend a pulpotomy.
A pulpotomy–also referred to as pulp therapy or a “baby root canal”–is performed to prevent further infection and early tooth loss. The procedure entails applying a topical anesthetic to numb the area before creating a small opening in the tooth, removing the infected, inflamed pulp, then sealing the chamber with a medicated filling that will prevent bacteria growth and allow a crown (stainless steel, porcelain, or white zirconia are the most common materials to choose from) to be fitted in place to restore the tooth.
Why Save a Baby Tooth?
When infection strikes a tooth in your little one’s mouth, you might think: “It’s a baby tooth, why not just remove it or let it fall out?” We wish we could tell you it’s that simple, but baby teeth have an important job. Losing them before they’re due to exit can cause permanent teeth to shift and erupt out of proper alignment, not to mention the increased difficulty for them to chew and speak naturally.
Protecting and restoring your child’s baby teeth can save their oral health and self-confidence. While pulpotomies may sound serious and scary, often they’re a source of relief because the inflammation and infection inside the pulp are incredibly painful. Acting fast can prevent increasing pain and the need for a pulpectomy, which is a removal of the diseased pulp from both the crown and the root. It can also make the difference between whether the tooth becomes abscessed—if the infection reaches this level, the tooth needs to be saved or face extraction.
What to Watch For
You should contact Whalen Dentistry as soon as possible if your child experiences any of the following symptoms:
- Severe toothache, especially when chewing or applying pressure
- Extreme sensitivity to hot or cold food and beverage temperatures
- Tooth discoloration (darkening)
- Swelling of gums
- Small, persistent or recurring bumps on gums
At Whalen Dentistry, we think the best treatment is no treatment. That means we emphasize prevention, which is largely reliant on education, healthy lifestyles, and strong oral hygiene routines. We want learning about the mouth to be fun, and for your little one’s smile to stay healthy and bright for life.
We offer thorough exams, gentle cleanings, and dental sealants to help ward off infection-causing bugs. Contact us today to schedule a visit!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.