Pediatric Dental Professionals

Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics located in Austin, TX

If one of your child’s primary teeth is so badly infected that an ordinary filling won’t work, you don’t have to resort to extraction. A procedure called pulpotomy can remove the infection and restore the tooth. Austin, Texas parents trust the Pediatric Dental Professionals team, including your pediatric dentist, Danny Watts, DDS, and orthodontist Stephen Robirds, DDS, for comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic care in one convenient location. Book online or by phone now.

Pulpotomy Q & A

What is a pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is a procedure that repairs your child’s primary tooth when the nerve inside is infected or abscessed. In situations like this, an ordinary filling won’t work because it would be too large for the tooth to contain securely. 

During the pulpotomy, Dr. Watts removes the infected portion of the nerve and then places medication inside your child’s tooth to decrease sensitivity and encourage healing. With nitrous oxide or oral sedation and local anesthesia, a pulpotomy is a comfortable procedure for your child. After a pulpotomy, your child’s tooth is brittle and needs a crown for protection. 

Why is a pulpotomy better than extracting the tooth?

Many parents ask if a pulpotomy is really necessary since the primary tooth eventually falls out to make way for the adult tooth, anyway. There are a couple of reasons why a pulpotomy is better than extraction. 

A pulpotomy helps your child maintain their tooth, with full use. With an extraction, your child would have a gap that could impair chewing and speaking. Often, a large cavity is quite painful, and your child might be hesitant to use the tooth normally. A pulpotomy removes that worry and gets your child out of pain.

Primary teeth play an important role in adult teeth position and alignment. The baby tooth holds the position for the adult tooth until it’s ready to erupt. By doing so, it prevents other teeth from shifting out of place. The pulpotomy keeps your child’s primary tooth healthy and properly positioned until it’s time for it to fall out naturally.

Is a pulpotomy the same as a root canal?

No, but it’s related. You can think of a pulpotomy as a kind of baby root canal. In the pulpotomy, Dr. Webb removes the decayed part of the nerve from your child’s crown, but doesn’t treat the tooth roots because the infection is confined above the gum line. 

In a root canal, also known as a pulpectomy, Dr. Webb removes the whole tooth nerve, which includes work on both the crown and the tooth roots. Root canals are typically the best choice for adult teeth.

For a pulpotomy that saves your child’s smile, schedule an appointment at Pediatric Dental Professionals online or by phone today.