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Pulpectomy 101


Children have their first baby teeth come out when they are around 6 to 12 months old. It’s certainly an exciting time to be a parent because your little ones will start chomping on everything they find, even your fingers if you’re not careful enough! But this exciting stage of the kid’s development also comes with the added responsibility of caring for their teeth. As the child grows they will begin eating more and more varied foods, and they may not fully understand the importance of having good dental hygiene habits. If parents aren’t careful enough, these baby teeth may start to decay due to harmful bacteria, and cavities can advance quickly through the softer outer layers of a baby tooth and infect the pulp.

If all this were to happen, your kid’s teeth may be at risk and their health could also suffer complications due to the infection. Once the infection has progressed enough the only solution may be for a pediatric dentist in El Cajon to perform a pulpectomy to try and save the tooth. Pulpectomies are one of many treatments we offer our young patients here at Children’s Braces and Dentistry, if you follow this link you will find a summary of what we offer. But we wanted to take this opportunity to include more information on what is done in a pulpectomy, how it differs from other treatments at a later age, and why they are so important.

What is Pulpectomy?

Pulpectomy, whether partial or complete, will always involve removing the pulp from the tooth. We mentioned before there is an infection affecting the pulp of the tooth meaning that any harmful agents could enter your kid’s bloodstream and spread diseases to other parts of their body. A Kids Dentist will apply anesthesia, remove the damaged pulp, clean the tooth, disinfect it, and fill the tooth with an inert material to seal the opening drilled into the tooth.

But baby teeth will fall out eventually…

At this stage, you may be wondering if it would be easier to let the tooth fall on its own, or have the dentist remove it altogether. The short answer is: your Kids Dentist will always do everything in their power to avoid removing a tooth. Primary teeth will eventually fall off and that much is true, but prematurely removing a tooth can result in long-term complications including speech development issues, allowing other teeth to move in, and affecting the aligning of permanent teeth making them grow and overcrowd. This is why a pulpectomy is preferred. If there is too much damage to the pulp and the crown it may be preferable to do a complete pulpectomy and at the end of the procedure we will install a restorative crown.

If you have met anyone who has had a root canal then the procedure mentioned above is no surprise to you. A pulpectomy is part of a root canal procedure, but the two are different and the latter may not be appropriate for your kid because of the type of filling used. As a pediatric dentist, the aim of any treatment being recommended to the patient is to ensure the proper development of healthy dental structures, this is achieved through the use of special material that can later be dissolved by the body and when the permanent tooth erupts it meets no additional resistance.

Just to make sure: why are Pulpectomies good?

Pulpectomies are very important resources for your pediatric dentist because they will maintain your kid’s dental health avoiding further pulp damage, prevent serious infections that can spread from the affected tooth to the rest of the patient’s body, and allow the structure to be preserved. A pulpectomy will ultimately help your kid because it treats the infected tooth and it doesn’t pose any long-term negative effects for the permanent teeth that will grow.

Kids Dentist Recommends a Pulpectomy

So remember, when a Kids Dentist recommends a pulpectomy it is because your baby’s tooth has suffered pulp damage and the infection needs to be stopped, or because the tooth has suffered considerable trauma and there is deceased material inside the tooth that could infect the mouth. Your dentist will apply local anesthetics, drill a hole into the tooth, remove all the pulp, clean and disinfect the tooth, and refill it with an absorbable material that won’t prevent the normal growth of a permanent tooth later on.

If you think your kid is suffering from increasing pain when chewing, inflammation around the tooth, and increasing sensitivity to heat and cold we recommend you visit the pediatric dentist of your choice. As a pediatric dentist, we’ll be more than glad to receive you and your child to begin restorative treatment and help your kid continue developing a healthy smile, so feel free to book an appointment with us and we can begin the journey towards better dental health, together.