Pulpotomy, “Baby Root Canal”
When decay has reached the nerve, or pulp, of the baby tooth, a pulpotomy is needed. Like adult root canals, the dentist will access the nerve chamber of the tooth and remove some of the nerve of the tooth. Unlike adult root canals, this is a very short procedure, as only part of the pulp needs to be removed, and does not require the time consuming filing of adult root canals.
If the tooth has been symptomatic this procedure will likely alleviate the pain. Also, it allows for the tooth to be preserved until it is ready to fall out naturally.
Pulpotomies have a high success rate. Occasionally, the nerve of the tooth is so badly damaged that it does not respond to pulp therapy, resulting in the need for extraction of the tooth. Certain circumstances increase the likelihood of failure with pulpotomies. Dr. Niloo will discuss your child’s situation with you during diagnosis.
The only alternative to a pulpotomy is extraction of the tooth coupled with the placement of a space maintainer. However, if it is possible to save the baby tooth, a pulpotomy is the best treatment because it preserves the appropriate spacing for the adult dentition.