When your dentist notices a damaged tooth, he or she may recommend a pulpotomy. This procedure essentially removes the pulp from the tooth to prevent it from becoming irritated or infected. While it may sound scary or intimidating, it is actually a preferred treatment for children. However, adults can have this treatment as well so long as the damage isn't too severe.
When Do You Need A Pulpotomy?
When a tooth experiences some kind of damage, it leaves the pulp open to decay and infection. This irritates the nerve and causes pain. As it dies, you will likely notice the child's tooth begins to change color. If the problem hasn't gone too far, your dentist will likely recommend this procedure in an effort to save the tooth until it is replaced by a permanent one.
Why Not Pull The Tooth?
A pulpotomy is a better alternative for many reasons, but particularly when working with children. In many cases, the damage isn't severe enough to warrant its removal, so this treatment is used because it is less devastating to the child. Young patients also need their teeth in order to learn to chew and speak correctly. Most importantly, baby teeth help to keep all of the teeth in alignment so that the permanent tooth will grow in the correct spot. If they are removed, teeth will often shift.
How A Pulpotomy Works
The first step the dentist will take is to x-ray the damaged tooth to ensure he knows exactly how far the damage has gone and exactly which procedure is best. So long as the damage is away from the nerve, he will be able to save it with a pulpotomy. If it has gone too far, he or she will likely have to pull it or perform a root canal.
The dental professional will inject freezing solution into the area and then remove the decay with a drill or laser. Once the dental professional has access to the pulp, he will remove the interior of the tooth until all that is left is the pulp inside the root. A special sterilized cotton pad known as a formocresol and treated pulp is inserted firmly into the void and left to treat the infection and decay.
After a short while, the dentist will remove the treatment and fill the entrance into the tooth. Eugenal material, zinc oxide, and IRM are some of the options the dental professional has available as a sealant. This is a strong material, but not strong enough to withstand the pressure of normal activities such as chewing. Therefore, a crown or cap is needed to cover the tooth.
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Dr Phillip Greer