Nobody is going to be thrilled when their dentist tells them they need a root canal. The process involves the removal of dead or dying dental pulp (the nerve inside the tooth), which halts the deterioration of the tooth. The tooth is then often fitted with a dental crown. This process is designed to be a permanent solution, but what about when the tooth itself isn't permanent? When children experience problems that might seem to warrant a root canal, is this the preferred method of treatment?
Similar to a Root Canal
While root canals for children's deciduous (baby) teeth are possible, they're generally not necessary. There's a procedure that yields the same result while being less invasive, and this is known as a pulpotomy. As the name suggests, the process is designed to treat your child's damaged dental pulp. This is the favored treatment for infected dental pulp in a deciduous tooth. What does it involve?
What a Pulpotomy Involves
Dental pulp can become compromised when its pulp chamber has been breached (permitting the entry of harmful bacteria), and this breach is usually caused by a cavity. A pulpotomy involves the partial removal of dental pulp, with a specific focus on the upper portions of the pulp, housed within the pulp chamber. The infected pulp is removed, and sufficient healthy pulp is retained within the tooth's canal (at its base) so that the tooth can remain intact.
Restoring the Tooth
It's not as though the pulp chamber is left empty, and a medicated filling is injected into the chamber, allowing the tooth to retain its structural integrity. The tooth's root structure is left intact, and the tooth can continue its normal development. While it's far less invasive than a complete root canal, your child might still be a little hesitant about the treatment.
A Standard Procedure
A pulpotomy is a standard procedure, and so your family dentist can generally perform the treatment. This at least gives your child some familiarity with the dentist. Although the process is as minimally invasive as possible, there will still be some discomfort. Pain relief will be given, and partial sedation can be an option to discuss with your dentist. Some discomfort can be experienced during recovery, but this will be brief, and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
So while a root canal is the best treatment to save a permanent tooth with dead or dying dental pulp, a deciduous tooth with similar problems can generally be preserved using a pulpotomy. Talk to a dentist, like Airport Road Dental Associates, near you to see if this is the best option for your child.