Can you tell me what a pulpotomy is?
Andrea H.- Minnesota
Pulp is the tissue inside a tooth. It provides the blood supply. A pulpotomy is a procedure that removes the pulp. Think of it as a root canal treatment for children. You might be thinking what is the point of doing that kind of treatment on a child’s tooth which will fall out anyway.
There are some tooth infections that can be left until the tooth fall out. However, I would be cautious about making that decision. Generally, an infected tooth means pain. Plus, if the tooth doesn’t fall out as quickly as expected, the infection can spread to elsewhere in their body. If it spreads too much it will put them in danger. A second reason to do the pulpotomy is to try and save the tooth. If the tooth is a molar, it is important to preserve the tooth for as long as possible. Otherwise the teeth will shift into the empty space. Then, when the permanent pre-molars come in, everything will be jumbled and they’ll need orthodontics.
During treatment, most of the pulp of the baby tooth is removed and the tissue inside the roots is daubed with a disinfectant. As a final step, the tooth is sealed. Sometimes, if the tooth is weak, it will be covered with a stainless steel crown.
When the pulp is being removed, if the tissue in the tooth is healthy enough, the dentist will be able to stop the bleeding of that tissue with a cotton pellet and waiting about five or ten minutes. If the dentist cannot get the bleeding to stop that way, it means a pulpotomy is not a viable option. In that case, the baby tooth will have to be extracted. If that becomes necessary on a molar make sure the dentist places a space maintainer to protect the teeth from shifting.
This blog is brought to you by Fountain Valley pediatric dentist Dr. Tammy Tran.