Baby Root Canals
One of the reasons that it is so important for your child to be seen every six months by our pediatric dentist at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry is that these visits allow for the early identification of cavities and other potentially troublesome areas.
It is very important that cavities and other dental decay is treated when the concern is diagnosed. The longer that concerns go untreated, the more time there is for the bacteria attacking the tooth to do damage. If the infection has been allowed to spread past what is possible to address with a dental filling, or prevention with dental sealants wasn’t enough, it may be that a baby root canal (pulpotomy) is the required next step.
Understanding the Pulpotomy
When the decay has spread into the interior chambers of the tooth, the procedure of removing decay and using a simple filling will not be able to control the damage done to the baby tooth. In these cases, a pulpotomy can be performed, to preserve the remaining tooth structure. The pulpotomy procedure is quite similar to the root canal therapy treatment that is performed on permanent teeth.
The goal of the pulpotomy is to protect the dental health of the patient and the developing permanent teeth, by preserving as much of the baby tooth as is possible.
The Pulpotomy Procedure
Inside of each tooth is a collection of nerves known as the pulp. When the infection in the tooth has advanced to the pulp, it is now too late for a simple filling to restore the tooth to good health. It is at this point that the decision will be made to move forward with the pulpotomy procedure to preserve the remaining tooth structure.
The patient will be made comfortable with the procedure. This could include using one or more methods of dental sedation. The tooth and the area surrounding it will be numbed so that the patient will feel no discomfort for the duration of the treatment.
Once the patient has been made to feel comfortable, the decay on the tooth will be addressed and removed. The infection in the pulp will be removed. A medication that disinfects quickly will be applied to the tooth’s interior in order to remove any infection that may be remaining.
At this point, a filling material will be used to fill in the cleaned-out area of the tooth. The pulpotomy procedure is a good option for pediatric dentistry with baby teeth that have serious decay in the pulp, as these teeth have larger pulp areas compared to adult teeth. Adult teeth can be more of a challenge to treat with the pulpotomy procedures. In the majority of cases, damage to the permanent tooth pulp will mean root canal therapy.
At Home Recovery From The Pulpotomy
The pulpotomy procedure and the sedation methods that will be used are considered to be safe for dentistry for kids. Some patients may experience some minor side effects after their procedure. This could include some minor tenderness and discomfort once the numbing medications start to wear off.
They may experience a bit of discomfort when eating, so it is recommended that patients eat softer and easier to chew foods for up to a week after their procedure. Ice packs can be used to minimize any swelling, and over-the-counter pain relievers are quite effective at controlling any discomfort felt.
Routine checkups are the most effective way to diagnose dental cavities in the earliest stages. Call Arlington Pediatric Dentistry at 360-657-1650 to schedule your child’s pediatric dentistry checkup and professional dental cleaning.