At the center of each tooth, “pulp” is found. It’s invisible to the naked eye and consists of nerves, tissue, and many blood vessels, which work to channel vital nutrients and oxygen. Unfortunately, pulp can be damaged. For children, tooth decay can cause pulp inflammation. Signs and symptoms for possible pulp therapy include sensitivity to hot and cold, severe toothache pain, and swelling and/or tenderness. Some of the reasons for pulp therapy are because decay has reached the tooth pulp, an infection or abscess has developed inside the tooth or at the root tip, and/or an injury has occurred to the tooth.
Injured pulp is extremely painful. Dr. Smith can perform a pulpotomy or pulpectomy procedure on both primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth. Initially, Dr. Smith will take a perform a visual examination and evaluate X-rays.
A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of a tooth. Dr. Smith will also use a disinfecting agent which will calm the remaining nerve tissue. This is followed by a final restoration, usually a stainless steel crown.
A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved – all the way into the root canal(s) of the tooth. Dr. Smith will completely remove the diseased pulp tissue from both the crown and the root. Then, the canals will be cleansed, medicated and, if they are primary teeth, filled with a resorbable material. Then the crown is placed. The crown strengthens the tooth structure, minimizing the risk of future fractures.
After a pulpotomy or pulpectomy, good oral hygiene practices and regular check-ups will help in the correction of your child’s pulp treatment. Though primary teeth are eventually shed, they are needed for speech production, proper chewing, and to guide the proper alignment and spacing of permanent teeth.