Have you noticed that your child is experiencing some sort of dental pain? It’s possible that decay or an infection has gotten into the nerve of one of their teeth. If that’s the case, they may need pulp therapy, which is like a root canal for baby teeth. Don’t let the phrase “root canal” frighten you! The whole goal of pulp therapy is to treat and save an infected baby tooth so your child can be pain-free again — and so they don’t have to lose that tooth prematurely.
If you notice any of these, we recommend that you contact Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry so we can bring you and your child in for a consultation with Dr. Bright. He’ll complete an exam to see what next steps if any should be taken.
Pulp therapy sometimes also goes by the name of pulpotomy or pulpectomy, but there is a slight difference between the two. A pulpotomy is when the inner pulp of a tooth has become damaged, but the infection hasn’t spread to the actual pulp root yet. During a pulpotomy, we’ll only remove the affected areas.
A pulpectomy becomes necessary when the entire tooth pulp including the roots have become infected. During this procedure, we go a couple steps further by also cleaning out the root canals and placing a dental crown on top to strengthen the tooth.
Why bother with pulp therapy on a baby tooth if it’ll just fall out eventually?
Great question! Just because baby teeth eventually get replaced by permanent teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t important. They actually serve many purposes, including guiding proper tooth development which in turn helps with proper chewing and speech development. Not to mention that baby teeth can still get cavities and affect your child’s overall oral health.
Is pulp therapy painful?
When performing pulp therapy, we always numb the treatment area to prevent discomfort. Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry also offers sedation options if you think one will help soothe your child. We have nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation, valium sedation, and in-office IV sedation performed by a licensed anesthesiologist. Your child’s comfort and safety are always our priorities, and we’re happy to go over which sedation technique might be best for your child.
What happens if we don’t get pulp therapy?
If your child doesn’t receive pulp therapy when they need it, it’s possible that they’ll lose that tooth or have to get it extracted prematurely. When that happens, it could affect how other teeth grow in or cause them to shift into the open space, both of which can affect your child’s bite and the appearance of their smile.