Indirect Pulp Capping 101: Know About the Procedure, Materials, Benefits, and Risks

Indirect Pulp Capping

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems that afflict millions of people in the world. As it advances to the pulp, it can cause severe infection and pain. But when it’s stopped before reaching the pulp, the tooth is saved from many invasive and expensive procedures.

One such procedure that protects the pulp from tooth decay is indirect pulp capping. At TruCare Dentistry, we have detected tooth decays just in the nick of time during several routine dental check-ups and performed successful indirect pulp capping procedures.

In this blog post, we discuss everything about the procedure, the materials used in the procedure, the benefits, and the risks. Read on to know everything about it.

First coming to the procedure, there are two types of indirect pulp cap procedure—one-step indirect pulp capping and two-step indirect pulp capping procedure. Let’s discuss them one by one.

In the single-step procedure, the dentist carefully treats the tooth decay and puts a protective seal on the dentin layer to prevent pulp exposure. After that, the professional covers the tooth with a filling made up of special components. As the name suggests, the procedure is complete in one visit.

The two-step indirect pulp capping procedure consists of two parts and involves two dental appointments. The first step of the procedure prevents bacteria from entering the pulp and slows down the decay. The second part, which is performed six to twelve months after the first visit, completes the entire procedure.

During the first appointment, the dentist thoroughly examines the cavity and then removes the decayed dentin from the tooth’s outermost part. After that, the professional places a seal and some chemical components on the tooth and puts a temporary filling.

In the second appointment, which is several months after the first one, the dentist evaluates the healing and checks for the efficacy of the cap by examining the teeth directly or by taking dental X-rays. The cap is effective if the tooth is free from pain and sensitivity and the pulp is safe and doesn’t have an infection. Healthy roots also indicate the cap’s effectiveness. In most cases, the decayed dentin regenerates. After ensuring the cap is effective, the professional removes any residual tooth decay and completes the process with some additional restoration.

Indirect pulp capping materials

A dentist can use a wide range of fillings materials for an indirect pulp capping procedure. Some of them have sedative properties to soothe decayed nerves and accelerate dentin regeneration. Each of them offers specific benefits and an experienced dentist can recommend the best material for an indirect pulp capping procedure. Some of the common materials are:

  • Glass ionomer:

Apart from giving a natural look, it bonds well to the tooth and also releases fluoride.

  • Resin-modified glass ionomer:

It is stronger, more wear-resistant, and provides superior bonding than glass ionomer.

  • Calcium hydroxide:

It is antibacterial, promotes healing, and is extremely helpful in forming reparative dentin.

  • Dentin-bonding agent:

It protects the pulp during the drying and impression-taking stages.

  • Mineral trioxide aggregate glass:

It has antibacterial properties and acts as a strong sealant.

The benefits of indirect pulp capping procedure

An indirect pulp capping procedure has many benefits compared to several complicated and invasive procedures. Some of them are listed below:

  • Saves pulp and tooth:

An indirect pulp capping procedure prevents the pulp’s exposure to decay and saves an affected tooth from getting extracted.

  • Simple and time-saving:

An indirect pulp capping procedure is simple and prevents many complicated and invasive dental procedures such as root canal and tooth extraction.

  • Cost-effective:

An indirect pulp capping procedure is extremely cost-effective. The average price of an indirect pulp capping procedure ranges between $200 and $300 in the U.S.

The risks associated with indirect pulp capping procedure

An indirect pulp capping procedure is normally safe with a success rate of more than 80 percent. But in rare cases, the pulp cap may not work and the cavities may enter the pulp after the procedure, which can cause pulpitis—the inflammation of pulp tissue.

If a patient feels any discomfort or pain after the procedure, it’s prudent to call the dentist immediately and do as they say.

Who is an ideal candidate for an indirect capping procedure?

A dentist is most likely to recommend indirect pulp capping procedures to individuals with healthy teeth and mouth. Usually, youth and children are more likely to be recommended indirect pulp capping procedure if they have decay in their teeth.

If a person has unhealthy teeth or a history of dental conditions then the dentist may prescribe some different procedures.

How you can avoid indirect pulp capping procedures?

The answer is quite simple. Don’t let tooth decay happen in the first place.

Take good care of your teeth. Brush twice a day and floss once daily. Avoid sugary food and beverages. Eat calcium-rich food. Go for regular dental visits and professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.

By and large,

When cavities penetrate the enamel and the dentin and approach the pulp, then an indirect pulp capping procedure will prevent bacteria from infecting the pulp. Most of the cavities that haven’t invaded the pulp are detected during regular dental check-ups. When the tooth starts to decay and penetrate the enamel and the dentin, it doesn’t usually cause pain. It only hurts when it reaches the pulp and nerves. So going for regular dental checkups is extremely beneficial to know if any tooth has a cavity.

At TruCare Dentistry Roswell, we recommend at least two routine dental checkups per year. We have detected several early-stage teeth decays during routine check-ups and performed successful indirect pulp capping procedures. If you intend to get your teeth checked, then contact us to schedule an appointment.


Is a pulp cap the same as a crown?

Even though a pulp cap is similar to a dental crown, there is a small difference. While a dental crown protects weakened or damaged teeth, an indirect pulp capping procedure prevents the exposure of pulp to cavities.

What’s the average success rate of the pulp capping procedure?

As per previous studies, the success rate of an average pulp capping procedure ranges from 73 to 99.4 percent. Current research suggests that the overall success rate of pulp capping procedure stands at 82.6 percent with the use of Biodentine.

What is a pulp cap on a tooth?

A pulp capping is a dental procedure that prevents the exposure of tooth pulp to oral bacteria during a cavity procedure. Doing so helps in the prevention of more invasive dental procedures such as root canals or tooth extraction.