What is Pulp Therapy?

Tooth pulp is the matter that makes up the inside of a tooth. It is made of blood vessels, tissue, and nerves and transports vital nutrients and oxygen to the teeth, keeping them healthy and strong. It cannot be seen with the naked eye but can be damaged or exposed due to tooth decay or traumatic injury. Pulp exposure is painful and inflammatory, but pulp therapy treats, restores, and saves the affected teeth.

Pulp therapy can be performed on both permanent (adult) teeth and primary (baby) teeth. Primary teeth do fall out eventually but are necessary for proper chewing, speech production, and the development of permanent teeth, so treating them is still important.

How to tell if your child suffers from pulp injury and infection

Exposed pulp is exceptionally painful and should be treated as quickly as possible to relieve discomfort and promote healthy teeth and gums. The source of the child’s pain may not always be visible, but a trip to the dentist can reveal the issue.

Some symptoms of pulp injury and infection are:

  • Nighttime pain.

  • Sensitivity to warm and cool food temperatures.

  • Constant unexplained pain.

  • Unexpected looseness or mobility of the affected tooth.

  • Redness or swelling around the affected tooth.

Tooth extraction and pulp therapy assessments

Before a child is selected for pulp therapy, their pediatric dentist must perform a thorough examination and assessment of their condition. The positioning of the tooth and the child’s general health are examined before the dentist recommends pulp therapy or tooth extraction.

Some of the consequences of prematurely extracted/missing teeth include:

  • Premolars becoming painfully impacted.

  • Remaining teeth “moving” to fill the gap.

  • Shortened arch length.

  • Permanent teeth lacking sufficient space to emerge, in the case of primary tooth loss.

  • Opposing teeth protruding or growing in an undesirable way.

  • Tongue posturing abnormally.

What is pulp therapy?

During the child’s dental examination at Brooklyn Dentist, the pediatric dentist will examine and x-ray the affected areas. There are several treatment options available for exposed or damaged pulp and the amount and location of pulp damage will indicate which treatment option the dentist recommends.

The most common pulp therapy treatments are pediatric pulpotomy and pulpectomy.

Pulpotomy – A pulpotomy is an extremely versatile treatment that can be used on both primary and permanent teeth. It can be used as a standalone treatment or as the initial step in a root canal.

A pulpotomy is performed when the pulp tip is damaged, but the root of the tooth is unaffected. The tip of the tooth and the surrounding tooth decay are removed, and then the gap is filled in with a therapeutic, biocompatible material. This soothes the pulp root and prevents infection. A crown is commonly placed on the tooth afterward to strengthen the tooth structure and prevent future fractures.

Pulpectomy – In cases where the entire tooth pulp is damaged or experiencing severe trauma and decay, a pulpectomy is performed. This removes all the pulp, cleanses the root canals, and then fills the area with biocompatible material.

Resorbable material is generally used for primary teeth and non-resorbable material is used for permanent teeth. A crown is then placed over the tooth to provide structural support and add strength. To disguise the crown, a tooth-colored covering can be applied. This process usually takes multiple dental visits.

To express any questions or concerns you may have about pediatric pulp therapy, or to set up a consultation, please contact Brooklyn Dentist.


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