Pulp Therapy

Q: What is a “baby tooth root canal”?

A: When the nerve of a primary tooth is penetrated by bacteria or exposed due to a fracture, pulp therapy (a pulpotomy or pulpectomy) is necessary to save the tooth. It is sometimes called a “baby tooth root canal”.

Q: What happens if I don’t have pulp therapy done?

A: When a cavity gets really deep, close to the pulp of a tooth (top center portion of crown) or even into the pulp, the pulpal tissue becomes irritated and inflamed. This is usually the “tooth ache” you feel. If the inflammation and infection continues without treatment, the tooth will likely eventually abscess and need an extraction.

Q: How does pulp therapy work?

A: During pulp therapy, the infected part of the nerve is removed and a sedative medication is placed inside the tooth to prevent sensitivity and to promote healing and then a suitable restoration is placed on the tooth.

Q: Does pulp therapy always work?

A: While this procedure may have a reasonable good prognosis of success overall, it isn’t always 100% successful. It may buy some time, but cannot save an already abscessed tooth. Although a very reliable procedure, rarely, a tooth with a pulpotomy will have complications and need to be extracted. This is usually due to irreversible damage occurring deep into the remaining pulp tissue due to previous and ongoing bacterial exposure.