Pulpotomies are often called “baby root canals.” This is because they're done on infected baby (primary) teeth, and they also involve removing less of the pulp in the tooth. The tooth’s pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that keep it alive.
When a tooth becomes infected, bacteria start to kill the pulp. However, if the infection isn’t too deep, Dr. Shwetha Rai can perform a pulpotomy to remove the infected pulp while keeping the rest of the pulp intact. This keeps your child’s baby tooth alive and healthy until it’s naturally replaced by an adult tooth.
A child’s tooth can become infected due to an untreated cavity, or when an oral injury causes significant damage to the outer layers of enamel and dentin that protect the tooth’s pulp.
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Tooth infections are painful. With a pulpotomy from the team at Shirlington Pediatric Dentistry, your child can get relief from their pain, and get back to their normal routine.
Without a pulpotomy, your child’s tooth will continue to weaken, and it will eventually die. Then, it must be pulled with a tooth extraction, and a space maintainer must be placed to prevent the nearby teeth from shifting. With a pulpotomy, you can usually avoid the need for tooth extractions.
Your child’s baby teeth are important. They help them chew, eat, and speak, but also form the “paths” that adult teeth take as they emerge. Keeping their tooth alive and intact helps ensure the proper development of adult teeth.
First, Dr. Rai will clean and numb your child’s mouth. We also offer pediatric dental sedation to keep them feeling calm and safe throughout their appointment. Once your child’s mouth is numb, Dr. Rai will create a small opening in their tooth.
Through the opening in your child’s tooth, Dr. Rai will extract any decayed pulp. Then, she will apply a special medication to the inside of the tooth, which prevents infection and helps the remaining pulp heal. After that, she will apply a sealant to the interior of the tooth.
As the final step, Dr. Rai will apply a pre-fitted stainless steel crown to your child’s tooth. This crown provides the protection that your child’s tooth needs as it heals, and will keep it healthy until it’s time for their adult tooth to replace it.
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Yes. Pulpotomies to treat infected teeth are a “medically necessary” procedure. If your child has dental insurance, pulpotomies will almost always cover the cost of a pulpotomy up to applicable policy limits. If you’re not sure how much of the treatment your insurance policy will cover, we recommend taking a look at your policy documents or consulting your insurer directly.
No. Pulpotomies at Shirlington Pediatric Dentistry require just one appointment at our office. However, if your child still experiences symptoms of a tooth infection after their appointment, they may need to come back for further treatment, such as a pulpectomy to remove the remaining infected pulp.