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What Is A Pulpotomy?

Posted on 10/31/2023 by Andrew Admin
Baby girl holding sippy cup in a high chair after visit to Riverwind Dental in Richmond, VAMany adults don't know this, but baby teeth can become as painful and infected as any adult tooth when cavities form. What should you do if you have a child with a major tooth infection? Luckily, dentists have a way to heal an infection in a child's tooth without removing the tooth, called a pulpotomy. Here's more information on pulpotomies in a child's baby tooth.

Baby Teeth

Children's baby teeth are not just placeholders. Instead, they help pave the way for adult teeth that your child will get during their elementary and middle school years. Baby teeth help your child learn how to chew food properly, and they protect your baby's gums from damage. As permanent teeth begin to grow and develop, they push against the baby teeth, which loosens the tooth roots and ligaments holding the tooth in. Once the baby tooth is out, the child's permanent tooth will grow in its place to take over the job of chewing and grinding food.

When a Baby Tooth Gets Infected

Children aren't the best at brushing their teeth. Nearly half of all children develop cavities in their baby teeth. If you don't catch the cavity quickly, it can grow into a tooth infection, which can be very painful for children.

In some cases, once the tooth is infected, a dentist can opt to remove the tooth, especially if there is a permanent tooth ready to come in. However, if it is going to be a while before a permanent tooth grows in to replace the baby tooth, a dentist may opt to try and save the tooth with a pulpotomy.

What Is a Pulpotomy Exactly?

If the dentist is going to try and save the tooth, they will numb the tooth and the area around it and cut a hole in the top of the tooth to draw out the infection. Then the pulp is filled with a cement-like material, but the tooth roots are left alone. The pulpotomy gets rid of the infection without losing the tooth since the roots remain anchored to the jaw.

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