While pulp therapy is something that’s less common within pediatric dentistry than other types of treatment, it’s still a treatment we encourage parents to learn more about. It’s especially important for young permanent teeth, as the pulp is critical for the normal development of the tooth. Keep reading to discover what exactly pulp therapy is and how it can help your child’s dental health in the future.
What is pulp therapy?
Pulp therapy is a dental procedure to help maintain a tooth so that it won’t be lost. There are two different forms of pulp therapy, which include pulpotomy and pulpectomy. You’ll also commonly hear pulp therapy referred to as root canal treatment, which you might have had in the past yourself.
The aim of a pulpotomy is to remove the diseased pulp that’s found within the crown of a tooth. Once the diseased part of the tooth is removed, an agent will be placed within the tooth to stop future bacteria growth. From there, a crown can be placed on the tooth. A pulpectomy is needed when the entire pulp is diseased and needs removing from the tooth. The canal will then be cleaned and packed with a special material. A crown will be placed over the tooth then to strengthen and support it and maintain the tooth for years to come. If your child does exhibit any of the symptoms of damaged pulp, make sure they get their teeth checked out to see which would be the best of these two treatment options.
What does tooth pulp look like?
The tooth pulp is the center of the tooth, which is made up of the blood vessels, cells, and connective tissue. This inner layer of the tooth plays a critical role in the overall health of your teeth, but it can’t be seen from the outside of the tooth. It’s protected by the harder outer layer of teeth, but it can be exposed if you have damage to the tooth or decay.
The Signs of Injured or Damaged Pulp
There are various signs of injured and damaged pulp, which may need pulp therapy in the future. When teeth are damaged by decay or a traumatic injury, this could lead to the pulp being exposed. In the long term, swelling and severe pain may occur, which is a sign that you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. Constant or unexplained pain, or pain that appears just at night, are common symptoms of damaged pulp. Your child might also complain of sensitivity to both hot and cold temperatures. Finally, swelling around the tooth indicates an infection and always needs immediate attention.
When your child complains of any of these symptoms, keep in mind that this does not necessarily mean they need pulp therapy. However, we always recommend you book an appointment with our team. A dentist will be able to recommend the best course of treatment, which will help to avoid further issues with your child’s dental health.
When should a child undergo pulp therapy?
While you might associate pulp therapy or root canal with adults, there are many reasons that we recommend this treatment to children. If your child notices any of the symptoms we shared above, we’ll certainly look into the best solution to these issues. Pulp therapy can be performed on both baby teeth and adult teeth, and it’s important to prevent the loss of any tooth in your child’s mouth.
While you might think that this treatment would be unnecessary for baby teeth, that’s not the case at all. Losing baby teeth prematurely can cause issues for your child’s health, as they are required for proper eating and speaking. They also help to preserve the right amount of space for the permanent teeth to come through. We use pulp therapy to keep the teeth in good alignment and avoid having to pull out a baby tooth. You’ll find that preserving a damaged tooth can stop crooked teeth in the future and avoid future complications with dental hygiene.
While pulp therapy is something we hope your child can avoid in the future, we highly recommend that you keep your eye out for any of the symptoms we’ve shared above. During your child’s dental appointment, we’ll be able to discuss the right course of treatment to protect them moving forward. We’ll be here to support them no matter what type of treatment is needed to make this process as stress-free as possible.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!