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Baby Root Canals Puyallup WA

Young toddler boy smilingSometimes a toothache is just a toothache. Most times, a child's toothache goes away after half an hour or so. But sometimes a toothache is actually a sign of an underlying problem. One of the most serious of these potential problems is a baby tooth with an infected pulp. This can eventually lead to the early loss of the tooth. To prevent this and save the tooth, Dr. Hersey performs an infant dental procedure known as a pulpotomy.

A pulpotomy is a milk tooth-saving procedure in children's dental care, performed by our pediatric dentists at Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry. It is referred to as a "baby root canal" as it is required when a bacterial infection has reached the pulp chamber at the center of the tooth; usually because of tooth decay.

What is a Pulpotomy?

The key to understanding pulpotomies is right there in the name "pulp." Inside your child's baby teeth there is a special cellular substance called dental pulp. It is a clump of connective tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. This clump can be found inside every tooth, so when cavities form, the bacteria have easy access to the dental pulp within.

Also known as a pediatric root canal, a pulpotomy offers dental pulp treatment that scoops out this irritated, inflamed, or infected pulp before the bacteria can spread further and the tooth is beyond saving.

Pulp is inside adult teeth too, but the small size of baby teeth means that their pulp is more at risk of infection. For bacteria, it is a short path from the thin enamel to the pulp within. By removing this pulp when it becomes inflamed and irritated, we can stop the bacteria from continuing to attack the tooth. This is called a pulpotomy, though it is also sometimes referred to as a baby root canal since it is the equivalent of a root canal, only for baby teeth.

Who Needs a Puplotomy?

If your child still has their baby teeth and feels pain when anything hot or cold touches a tooth, they may be suffering from pulpitis. This occurs when the pulp in the crown of the tooth becomes inflamed. It occurs when a tooth decays to the point that liquids, food, and air can touch the pulp.

We will do a visual exam to look for these cavities and determine how bad they are. In some cases, we may need to do a set of X-rays to make a full diagnosis.

Any child can suffer from pulpitis. However, they only need a pulpotomy if they still have their baby teeth. For older children and teens, full root canal therapy is usually necessary. Adult pulpotomies can be done, but a root canal is typically the better option.

How Can a Pulpotomy Help Your Child?

Baby teeth come with some unique risks that set them apart from adult teeth. Baby teeth are both weaker and softer, and their extremely small size means the dental pulp is close to the surface. Due to these factors, tooth decay in children can spread quickly and can cause greater discomfort. A pulpotomy is the best way to alleviate these symptoms and save your child's tooth.

Baby tooth preservation might not seem like a priority, if these teeth are going to fall out anyway. but we make every effort at baby tooth restoration, and preserving the tooth. Why? Because baby teeth serve a vital role in preserving space for the adult teeth underneath. Unfortunately, if the infected pulp extends to the roots of the tooth, we will have to extract the entire tooth, a procedure known as a pulpectomy.

What Happens During the Procedure?

Pulpotomies are a discomfort-relieving procedure but exposing and removing infected pulp is uncomfortable in its own right. Taking around 45 minutes, the pulpotomy procedure is carried out under a local anesthetic, or conscious sedation to keep your child calm. Your child may still be awake and able to follow instructions but will feel afterward as if they slept through the process.

Once the anesthetic is administered, and any sedative has taken effect, we will cut out a small section from the infected tooth so we can access the dental pulp. Any decayed areas are removed from the tooth, and a small hole is made in the top of the tooth so the dentist can access the pulp chamber. It is possible at this stage to determine whether the tooth is healthy enough to benefit from the procedure, or whether it should be extracted.

If the former, we continue to extract the dental pulp and clean the ensuing cavity. After the blood flow is stemmed, the tooth is sealed, and a metal crown is placed on top to add strength, prevent infection, and keep the tooth safe. This completes the restoration.

Are There Any Risks in a Baby Root Canal?

There are no major risks to a pulpotomy. The only unexpected issue is if we discover that the pulp chamber has been infected. If it has, we simply either change the procedure to a pulpectomy and remove all the pulp or we do an extraction. There is no long-term risk from a pulpotomy, especially since the procedure is done on a baby tooth that will eventually be replaced with an adult tooth.

While the procedure is done on a baby tooth that will fall out, the amount of discomfort it can cause your child often makes it necessary. If your child has been complaining about pain when they eat or drink, you should make an appointment with us so we can determine the cause and a plan for baby tooth treatment.

Does Your Child Have a Persistent Toothache?

If so, then it could be an indication of an inflamed or infected pulp. If left untreated, this could result in the loss of the tooth, which in turn can cause problems with the adult teeth below the gum. To find what is causing your child's toothache, and how a pulpotomy might be able to help them, call us here at Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry by dialing (253) 864-9889.

Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry | | (253) 864-9889
11201 88th Ave E #120, Puyallup, WA 98373-3802
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Baby Root Canals Puyallup WA
Puyallup Pediatric Dentistry, 11201 88th Ave E #120, Puyallup, WA 98373-3802, (253) 864-9889,, 6/19/2024, Associated Words: Pediatric Dentist Puyallup WA,