Baby teeth are small but the nerve and blood vessels, ‘dental pulp’, inside of them are much larger in proportion than in adult teeth. Often cavities in baby teeth progress quickly towards the pulp and cause pulpal inflammation in the area. Sometimes this can cause some discomfort on that tooth, other times your child will have no symptoms.
The purpose of pulpal therapy is to remove the affected pulpal tissue place an inert material inside the tooth that allows the tooth to remain in the mouth until it is naturally lost. These procedures are often called “baby root canal”, “indirect pulp cap”, “pulpotomy”, or “pulpectomy”.
Indirect Pulp Cap
An indirect pulp cap is the removal nearly all of the cavity leaving small portion over the nerve of the tooth. A medicine is placed that allows the tooth to heal itself from the inside out and prevents further growth of the bacteria. The tooth is then filled with a restoration to help prevent bacteria from re-invading the tooth.
A pulpotomy removes the affect portion of the pulp and places an agent that calms the remaining nerve and removes any residual bacteria. The tooth is restored with a full coverage stainless steel crown to help seal the pulp from further injury.
A pulpectomy is the removal of all pulpal tissue from the crown and root of the tooth. The space is then disinfected and a restorable material placed to allow normal eruption of the permanent tooth underneath.