If your dentist has recommended that your child receive a pulpectomy to treat a decayed tooth, CG Smile in Miami can help explain what this treatment entails.
Pulpectomies for Miami Kids
Pulpectomies are a type of root canal procedure usually reserved for treating an infected pulp chamber in the tooth of a child. This procedure works by removing the infected tissue, applying a medicated filling, then sealing the tooth.
If your child complains about tooth pain when chewing or when the tooth is exposed to hot and cold foods and drinks, this may indicate that the pulp chamber of the tooth has become infected. For a treatment consultation, contact CG Smile.
What is a Pulpectomy in Dentistry?
A pulpectomy is a type of root canal treatment that is performed when the pulp and root canal of a tooth have suffered irreversible decay. Unlike a simple cavity, an infection of the pulpal region of a tooth actually extends beyond the enamel and dentin, making its way to the root canal and pulp.
What is Getting a Pulpectomy Like?
Before a pulpectomy is recommended, the dentist or endodontist will request that a radiography (X-ray or CT scan) be performed. If the radiographs indicate necrotic and/or decayed tissue in the pulp chamber and root canals of the tooth, a pulpectomy may be the recommended form of treatment. (Pulpectomies are only performed when both the crown and root canal of the tooth have become infected.)
Most children are hesitant about dental procedures — even simple checkups. This is especially true when a dental drill is involved. The dentist will work with the child and explain that with the numbing anesthetic the procedure may be uncomfortable, but it will not be painful.
When a pulpectomy is performed, a small hole is drilled into the crown of the tooth. Dental tools are then used to extract and clean out the decayed and infected tissue of the root canal, which may extend down to the tip of the root (apical foramen).
Once all signs of decay are removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals, the tooth is then prepared and filled with a natural latex material called gutta-percha.
Some pain and swelling can be expected following a pulpectomy. To help with the swelling and discomfort, it’s recommended that an ice pack is applied to the outside cheek (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off works best). A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Motrin® or Aleve may also be used. Aspirin is not recommended for use in children.
Why Not Just Pull the Tooth?
When parents learn that their child's tooth has become infected and a pulpectomy should be performed, they naturally wonder why the dentist doesn't just extract the tooth. There are several good reasons to save a deciduous tooth (baby tooth). Deciduous teeth serve as a guide for the later adult teeth. When a tooth is prematurely extracted, the neighboring teeth have a tendency to drift out of place. This can cause the teeth to become crooked, often requiring orthodontic care later on in life.
In some cases an infected deciduous tooth is pulled, especially when scans reveal that the adult (permanent) tooth is positioned to erupt and displace the deciduous tooth.
How Long Does a Pulpectomy Take?
The actual pulpectomy procedure itself goes by rather quickly. Most pulpectomies can be performed in a little under an hour.
Is a Pulpectomy Like a Pulpotomy?
Pulpectomies and pulpotomies share many similarities, but there are some key differences between the two procedures. When a pulpotomy is performed, the dentist removes decayed tissue only from the pulp chamber while leaving the root nerves and tissue intact. With pulpectomies, all tissue and nerves are removed from the pulp chamber and the root canals.
Have a Question About Pulpectomies?
The staff at CG Smile would be happy to answer your questions. Contact us today.
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