When children experience unexplained pain and sensitivity in their teeth, or when they have a broken or diseased tooth with a portion of the pulp exposed, dental professionals often suggest Endodontic treatment, or Pulp Therapy. Essentially, pulp therapy serves the same purpose as a root canal treatment, which is designed to save the tooth. While you may wonder why pulp therapy would be recommended for primary teeth that will eventually fall out, dentists are careful to note that it is more important to treat teeth so that children may continue to eat and speak normally. Restoring the tooth also helps preserve adequate space for permanent teeth to erupt later.
To better understand, consider the two types of endodontic treatment–vital pulp therapy and non-vital pulp therapy.
Vital Pulp Therapy
Vital pulp therapy for primary baby teeth consists of four types. When there is decay in the tooth, but the pulp is not affected, the decay is simply removed and material is placed within the tooth before placing the filling. This is referred to as the Protective Base type of pulp therapy.
When decay is very close to the pulp, but not touching it, an Indirect Pulp Cap is a protective layer placed over the area of decay (after decay is removed).
In some cases, the top of the pulp is affected by decay, but the root remains healthy. As with other types, the decay is first removed. Next, the area is filled with protective material and the tooth is covered with a stainless steel cap, or crown. This type of pulp therapy is called Vital Pulpotomy, and for young children that need a full root canal, this may be used as the first step.
Non-Vital Pulp Therapy (Root Canal Treatment)
When damage is extensive, and the tooth cannot be saved, dentists will most likely recommend non-vital pulp therapy, better known as root canal treatment. While many parents assume that it may be easier to have their child’s tooth removed, dentists want you to know–there are consequences involved in removing teeth, and there are important factors that must be considered first. Some of these include the location of the tooth, how much decay or damage is present, and whether the decay has reached the bone.
Providing top quality dental care to patients of all ages, Dr. Leia Porcaro is equipped with the highest level of expertise when it comes to your child’s dental health. At Grateful Dental, we work hard to establish a positive, healthy relationship with your child, in a rewarding and fun environment. If you have concerns about your child’s oral health, your call is welcome at Grateful Dental today.