Pediatric pulpotomy relieves toothaches and encourages healthy development

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report one in every five children between the ages of 5 and 11 have untreated tooth decay. Considering that kids generally have mixed dentition (combination primary and adult teeth) until the age of 12, and most permanent teeth don’t appear until after age six, it is likely that much of this damage is affecting the primary teeth. As specialists in treating children’s teeth, at Little Pearls Dentistry for Children in Lansdowne, Virginia, we appreciate and educate kids and their parents on the importance of baby or primary teeth. Pediatric pulpotomy may be the only way to preserve a natural tooth and resolve the pain of a toothache, which is often associated with a deep cavity and infection.

Why infected baby teeth need TLC

While baby eventually teeth fall out, they are not inconsequential. Researchers have found that patients with decayed baby teeth are three times more likely to develop decay in their permanent or secondary teeth. Similarly, oral health challenges early in life are a predictor of dental disease later in life. Also, these teeth serve several important functional purposes; in part, baby teeth reserve the space for developing adult teeth. If a baby tooth must be extracted due to deep decay, the remaining teeth drift toward the space. That hastens problems with the developing jaws and teeth; for instance, early tooth loss can result in misalignment that requires extensive orthodontic treatment. 

Also, oral infections do not always “stay put.” They can spread to other parts of the face and body by way of your child’s bloodstream. Systemic infections are a medical emergency. For your child’s overall health and comfort, it is imperative that we promptly resolve the infection and restore the affected tooth to health. 

Pulpotomy to the rescue 

The pulpotomy is sometimes confused with “baby root canal therapy.” However, this is a misnomer. The pediatric pulpotomy involves opening the affected tooth and accessing the innermost part: the pulp. The damaged pulp tissue is removed. A healing dressing is applied to encourage the pulp to heal. After the tooth is cleaned, it is sealed off with a filling or cleaning to protect the treatment site and prevent reinfection. 

Conversely, root canal therapy involves removing all of the pulp, including inside the roots. The similar sounding pulpectomy is truly “baby root canal therapy.” This treatment may be completed instead of a pulpotomy if the damage affects the pulp in the roots.Contact us at Little Pearls Dentistry for Children in Lansdowne, VA, today at (571) 601-2080 to schedule your child’s appointment.