What is a Pulpotomy?

February 28, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

Sometimes in addition to the pain and damage of a cavity, our teeth need a little more help. Especially if the cavity is so severe that the pulp of the tooth becomes infected, too. In adults, this can result in a root canal. In children, it can result in a procedure called a pulpotomy. Though it is not as common as cavities in children, pulpotomies are still needed from time to time, but they’re not as scary as they sound.

Here’s everything you need to know about pulpotomies should your child need one.

What is a pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is a dental procedure where the tooth is drilled and the infected pulp of the tooth is removed. If all the pulp is damaged a root canal may be required.

Why get a pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is used when the pulp of a tooth becomes infected. This can cause pain to the tooth and further damage to the tooth and surrounding gums, so it is important to remove the pulp before the infection becomes worse.

Why are pulpotomies good for children?

Pulpotomies are recommended for children because the roots of their teeth are still growing. Unlike a root canal, the remaining roots of the teeth are left intact so they still have the opportunity to grow.

Pulpotomies can also be done in adults if they have enough remaining healthy tissue to keep in place within the tooth.

How does a pulpotomy work?

A pulpotomy begins with an x-ray to assess the tooth. If it is determined that a pulpotomy is the correct course of action, Dr. Mingus will schedule your procedure. For a child, mild sedation and anesthesia is recommended. The procedure lasts up to 45 minutes per tooth.

Pulpotomies or Pulpectomies?

A lot of people wonder what the difference is between a pulpotomy and a pulpectomy. Simply put, a pulpotomy removes only the damaged pulp from a tooth, leaving the healthy tooth pulp intact, while a pulpectomy is usually performed in conjunction with a root canal and removes all the pulp within a tooth, replacing it with a compound called gutta-percha which fills the tooth and keeps it intact.

If you need a pulpotomy or have more questions about this procedure, please contact Dr. Mingus today.