A Root Canal Doesn’t Have to Be Scary for You or Your Kid

For many people, “root canal” has long been a term that strikes fear in their hearts, often without them even understanding why. In actuality, the term root canal is simply a reference to a part of the tooth, not a dental procedure, much less a frightening one. Yet many patients still feel fear when told they need root canal treatment, and many parents are particularly nervous when they learn their children might need it. Fortunately, your pediatric dentist may offer a less invasive version of a traditional root canal treatment, particularly for young patients. It’s called a pulpotomy.

What Is a Pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is used for similar purposes as root canal treatment or therapy, namely to help rid a tooth of any portions of the pulp (the living connective tissue and cells located within a tooth) that have become infected, as well as to remove any potentially harmful bacteria that may have entered a damaged tooth. However, unlike a “root canal,” a pulpotomy is considered a less-invasive form of treatment.

Basically, a pulpotomy involves only removing part of the tooth’s tissue, whereas a root canal is designed to remove all the nerve tissue. In fact, a pulpotomy is often referred to as a “baby root canal.”

During a pulpotomty procedure, the dentist removes the infected pulp tissue, then applies a disinfectant (usually through a medicated filling) to help prevent reinfection. In many cases, a stainless steel crown will then be used to further protect the tooth.

Why a Pulpotomy Is Nothing to Fear

As a parent, it’s important to keep in mind that preserving your children’s healthy teeth is ideal for keeping their smiles healthy as they grow up. An infected tooth poses a threat to the oral health, but it can often be addressed through a pulpotomy rather than extraction. Not only does this prevent the need for a replacement tooth, in the case of permanent teeth; it also helps preserve a healthy tooth root, which is vital to maintaining the jaw’s structure as a person ages.

So while restorative treatment, like a pulpotomy, might seem extensive, it’s actually a less-invasive alternative than extraction, and often the best step for protecting a child’s natural smile!

filed under: Restorations for Kids