When it comes to root canal therapy, our team of doctors here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado are some of the very best. It’s one thing for an adult to need root canal therapy –– but what about when your child needs more extensive dental care? Sometimes, there are less invasive treatment options available for kids. One of those treatments is a pulpectomy. But what is a pulpectomy, and how will it help your child? Read on to learn more about this treatment option and how it differs from a traditional root canal.
Reasons for a Pulpectomy
Each tooth has a pulp, which is the living part of the tooth for both adult teeth and baby teeth. The pulp of the tooth contains the blood supply and nerve endings for the tooth, providing sensory function and producing dentin. Dentin is calcified tissue used to strengthen and support the tooth.
When the pulp of an adult tooth becomes infected, the course of treatment consists of root canal therapy. However, if a child’s baby tooth is infected, a pulpectomy is the preferred choice for saving the tooth. A pulpectomy involves removing the entire pulp from a primary tooth in an attempt to relieve pain associated with an infection and to prevent a complete extraction of the tooth.
The most common reason a child needs to undergo a pulpectomy is that a dental cavity has gone untreated for too long. If a cavity is allowed to progress, it will move further and further inside the tooth until it reaches the pulp. It will then infect the pulp, leading to a tooth abscess and requiring treatment.
When your child’s dentist determines that a pulpectomy is needed, the treatment will start with a local anesthetic to numb part of your child’s mouth. A rubber dental dam is placed over the open tooth to keep it completely isolated from any bacteria and saliva in the mouth. Your dentist will check to confirm that your child’s mouth is numb, and then proceed to remove any decay, take out the inner pulp using specialized dental instruments, and disinfect the inside of the tooth.
Your dentist will then fill the canals of your child’s baby teeth with a medicated material and therapeutic dressing. This material is safe and can be easily reabsorbed by the body once the baby tooth falls out. Once complete, your dental team will remove the dental dam from your child’s mouth, and your child can leave the office right after the procedure. Your child may experience some sensitivity in the area for a few days, but any discomfort should taper off quickly.
Differences From a Root Canal
A pulpectomy and a root canal are very similar. Both are done with a local anesthetic, and dental implements like drills are used to work on the tooth. A root canal is the more detailed procedure, though, and it generally takes longer than a pulpectomy. Neither procedure is painful because of the local anesthesia administered, and aside from some soreness, there isn’t much discomfort in recovery, either. As a matter of fact, both of these procedures serve an important role in relieving pain, rather than causing it!
Regardless of it being a pain-free procedure, no parent wants their children to go through any kind of stressful treatment. The best way to avoid a pulpectomy for your child is to make sure you’re helping him or her practice good at-home dental hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the pediatric dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and a checkup.
Did you know that our team of doctors here at Endodontic Specialists of Colorado specialize in treating both adults and children? If you think your child may need a pulpectomy, contact our office to schedule an evaluation. With offices in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, convenient care is only a phone call away. We look forward to restoring your smile!