Pediatric Pulp Therapy in Hurst,TX
Pediatric Pulp Therapy in Hurst, TX
At the center of a tooth, beneath the hard outer surface, is a soft, gelatinous substance called “dental pulp.” Dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. Deep cavities and dental trauma can damage dental pulp, resulting in tooth pain, temperature sensitivity, swelling, redness and/or a prematurely loose tooth. If the damaged pulp is not treated, the infection can spread beyond the dental pulp. Fortunately, pediatric pulp therapy (also called a “baby root canal” or “nerve treatment”) can often be used to treat teeth with damaged pulp.
What Is A Baby Root Canal?
If your child has a tooth with damaged dental pulp, his or her pediatric dentist may recommend a baby root canal (or pediatric pulp therapy) to restore the health of the tooth and its supporting tissues. Pediatric pulp therapy can be performed on both primary teeth and permanent teeth with immature roots, and it can take the form of either a pulpotomy or a pulpectomy. The appropriate form of treatment depends on the extent of the damage to the pulp.
A pulpotomy (sometimes referred to as “vital pulp therapy”) may be a treatment option when the dental pulp is inflamed but capable of healing. In a pulpotomy, pulp is removed only from the tooth’s “crown” (the part of the tooth that lies above the gum line).
A pulpectomy, in contrast, may be performed if the dental pulp is deemed incapable of healing or is already dead. In a pulpectomy, pulp is removed from both the tooth’s crown and its root (the part of the tooth that lies below the gum line).
In either case, after the damaged dental pulp is removed, the tooth will be disinfected, filled and stabilized with a “dental crown” (which is essentially a cap that goes over the tooth).
Are Root Canals Necessary for Baby Teeth?
Damaged dental pulp in a baby tooth requires treatment, either in the form of pulp therapy or tooth extraction. Failure to treat the damage can result in intense pain and sensitivity, spreading of the infection, and impairment of your child’s overall health.
But since baby teeth are going to fall out anyway, why would you ever perform a root canal on baby teeth instead of simply pulling the tooth? The answer is that primary teeth serve extremely important functions. They help children speak clearly and chew properly, and they help permanent teeth come in correctly. As a result, it is often desirable to try to save a primary tooth with damaged pulp using pulp therapy, rather than to simply remove the tooth.
Preventing Pulp Damage
Damage to dental pulp typically occurs as a result of either dental trauma or tooth decay.
You can help protect your child’s teeth from sports-related dental trauma by having your child wear a custom-fitted athletic mouthguard when participating in athletic activities (including non-contact sports, such as gymnastics).
To help prevent decay, make sure your child brushes and flosses every day and bring your child to a pediatric dentist for dental cleanings and exams on a regular basis. Have a discussion with your child’s pediatric dentist about whether dental sealants should be used as an additional way to protect your child’s teeth against decay.
Baby Root Canals in DFW
If your child is experiencing tooth pain, temperature sensitivity, swelling or redness, contact Hurst Pediatric Dentistry today to schedule an appointment for your child. You can also call our office at (817) 510-6400. Dr. Lin can examine your child’s teeth to ascertain whether damaged dental pulp is the cause, and he can work with you to determine whether a baby root canal is the best course of treatment for your child.
Dr. Lin is a board certified pediatric dentist in Hurst, TX. He provides dental care to children from Hurst, Euless, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Keller, Colleyville, Southlake, Fort Worth, Irving, Arlington and the surrounding area.