How is a Pulpotomy Different From a Root Canal?

When it comes to dental procedures, terms like pulpotomy and root canal may sound intimidating. However, understanding the difference between the two can help ease any concerns and help you make informed decisions about your little one’s oral health. In this blog, we will explore the key differences between pulpotomies and root canals, shedding light on these commonly misunderstood dental treatments.


What Is a Pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is a dental procedure often performed on children to treat deep cavities that have reached the pulp chamber of a baby tooth. The pulp chamber contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue, which can become infected or inflamed due to extensive decay. During a pulpotomy, the infected portion of the pulp is removed, and a medicated filling is placed to promote healing and prevent further infection.

A pulpotomy is typically recommended when the infection is limited to the pulp chamber and has not spread to the roots of the tooth. This procedure is often performed on baby teeth to preserve their function until they naturally fall out, allowing for the proper eruption of permanent teeth.


How Does a Pulpotomy Differ From a Root Canal?

While both procedures involve the removal of infected pulp, there are key differences between a pulpotomy and a root canal. A root canal is performed on permanent teeth, whereas a pulpotomy is typically performed on baby teeth. Additionally, a root canal involves the removal of both the infected pulp in the pulp chamber and the pulp in the tooth roots.

Root canals are necessary when a tooth infection has spread to the roots, causing more extensive damage. The procedure involves cleaning and disinfecting the root canals before filling them with a biocompatible material. A dental crown is often placed on top of the treated tooth to provide strength and protection.


When is a Pulpotomy Recommended?

Pulpotomies are recommended when the infection is limited to the pulp chamber of a baby tooth. This procedure is often performed on teeth with deep cavities or trauma that has not reached the tooth roots. By preserving the baby tooth, a pulpotomy allows for proper chewing, speech development, and the maintenance of space for permanent teeth.

If left untreated, an infected pulp can lead to severe pain, abscesses, and the premature loss of baby teeth. By addressing the issue early with a pulpotomy, your child's dentist can help prevent further complications and ensure optimal oral health.


What To Expect During a Pulpotomy Procedure?

During a pulpotomy, your child will receive local anesthesia to numb the area and ensure a comfortable experience. The dentist will remove the infected pulp from the pulp chamber, clean the area thoroughly, and place a medicated filling to promote healing. In some cases, a dental crown may be recommended to provide additional protection and strength to the treated tooth.

It's important to note that every child is unique, and the specific steps of a pulpotomy procedure may vary depending on the individual case. Your child's dentist will provide detailed instructions and answer any questions you may have to ensure you feel confident and informed about the procedure.


Get in Touch Today!

At Mission Peak Pediatric Dentistry, we understand the importance of maintaining your child's oral health. If you suspect your child may need a pulpotomy or have any concerns about their dental health, our experienced Fremont pediatric dental team is here to help. Contact us today at (510) 980-7325 to schedule an appointment and give your child the best possible dental care.

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