A therapeutic pulpotomy is a procedure that removes diseased tissue from the center of the tooth, which is also known as the pulp chamber. If the infection has advanced beyond this point with signs like pain when biting down or temperature sensitivity, a pulpotomy may be crucial in saving the tooth.
What Is the Procedure?
An X-ray and examination by the dentist will determine if the pulpotomy is needed. During the procedure, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth before removing infected tissue with a drill. Then, the inside of the tooth will be disinfected before it is sealed shut with a filling.
The tooth is monitored over the next few weeks for any complications, such as continued pain or new infections. While the success rate of pulpotomies is high, some teeth will continue to experience pain and need to be removed.
After the procedure, patients will experience some tenderness in the treated tooth for around a week and should be careful not to bite down on the area with the damaged tooth. Patients should also brush carefully around the affected area to make sure it is properly cleaned. For the first few days, a soft food diet is recommended, and then normal foods can be slowly resumed.
Restoring the Tooth After Pulpotomy
When your child’s baby teeth are extracted due to decay, the treatment that is performed is called “dental extraction.” However, there are times when we instead preserve the natural tooth by removing the infected tissue and placing a permanent therapeutic restoration called a cover crown. This procedure is referred to as a pulpotomy – or in simpler terms, a root canal for primary teeth.
The benefit of this procedure is that the remaining healthy structure of the tooth is protected so that no further damage can occur to the tooth. Once the nerve is removed, the tooth will become more susceptible to fractures, so sealing the tooth, can help prevent this from occurring.
In addition to preserving the structure of the tooth, there is also the benefit of preserving the surrounding bone of the jaw. By removing only the affected portions of a tooth, the surrounding bone is spared, and the bone can continue to grow properly.
For more information, contact our Alexandria dental office at (703) 823-2848 or 5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304, or our Manassas dental office at (703) 479-7654 or 8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110.