|Pulpectomy & Pulpotomy
When most people think of a root canal, they probably picture an adult in the dentist’s chair. However, root canal therapy is a common treatment for children as well. At Chula Vista Smiles, we offer pulpectomies and pulpotomies to alleviate pain, improve oral health, and prevent future complications.
The Difference Between a Pulpectomy & Pulpotomy
Deep within every tooth exists a substance known as pulp. Pulp contains the nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels essential to the lives of both primary (baby) and permanent teeth. When the outer layer of a tooth is damaged, it can leave the pulp susceptible to infection.
An infection in the pulp can result in severe pain and even threaten the life of a tooth. A root canal is designed to remove the diseased pulp and halt the spread of infection. The only major difference between the two procedures is the amount of pulp we remove.
During a pulpectomy, we remove all of the pulp tissue because it has either died or become infected. During a pulpotomy, we only need to remove a portion of the pulp to stymie the growth of harmful bacteria. Pulpotomies are usually reserved for primary teeth to prevent premature extraction.
Pulpotomies are also minimally-invasive and cost-effective. Preserving a portion of the pulp helps to keep the tooth from becoming brittle. This can even eliminate the need for a dental crown.
The Root Canal Procedure
Regardless of which procedure we perform, the basic steps are the same. It all begins with a consultation, during which, Dr. Ilse Savelli will determine if your child needs a root canal. The next step is determining if the tooth requires a pulpectomy or pulpotomy.
Once we have an appropriate treatment plan, we can perform the procedure. First, we must drill a small hole in the enamel to expose the pulp chamber. Next, we will remove all of the diseased pulp tissue and clean out the canals. After the space is sterilized and dried, we will fill the canal with gutta-percha, a rubber-like material that seals off the area from further damage or decay.
Contrary to popular belief, root canals these days are virtually painless. We will use a local anesthetic to numb the tooth and ensure your child has a comfortable experience. We may also recommend sedation if your child is particularly anxious about the procedure.
The Importance of Saving a Primary Tooth
Protecting a primary tooth with a pulpectomy or pulpotomy is more important than you may think. These procedures prevent the need for an extraction, which is better for your child’s long-term oral health. The premature loss of a primary tooth can cause eruption issues with the permanent teeth.
When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth may shift out of alignment to compensate for the open space. This can cause the permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong position, or become impacted (stuck below the gum tissue). While a root canal is not always a necessity, it may be the best option for your child’s future smile!
Schedule an Appointment
If you would like to learn more about restorative services, our team is happy to help. Call 619-427-1315 to schedule your child’s appointment today!
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