A Pulpectomy is a dental procedure used by dentists to remove all the pulp from the crown and roots of a tooth. Inside every tooth, there is a material known as pulp. The pulp contains the nerves, blood vessels, connective tissues, and other cells that are required to maintain a healthy tooth. The pulp is soft, living and very sensitive material present inside the outer layers of the teeth. When the outer layers of the teeth that are enamel and dentin are damaged, the possibility of pulp getting infected increased. In some cases, pulpectomy is perhaps the best option to save the tooth. Pulpectomy sometimes called a ‘baby root canal’ is generally performed in children to treat a severely infected primary tooth.
Pulpectomy vs. Root Canal
Many times, people get confused between Pulpectomy and Root Canal treatments. Both procedures are quite similar. Usually performed on baby teeth, a pulpectomy is a procedure that involves the complete removal of pulp from the crown and roots. The tooth is then filled with an inert material that can be reabsorbed by the body. On the other hand, a root canal begins with a pulpectomy. The only difference is that the tooth is filled with a permanent filling and crown. This procedure is generally performed on permanent teeth.
Pulpectomy Procedure in Brief
As of now, we understood that pulpectomy is the procedure that is used to remove infected or diseased pulp from the tooth. The key aim behind this procedure is to save the tooth that has been severely damaged due to decay or trauma so that there is no need to pull it out. In most cases, pulpectomy can be performed in one visit. Various steps involved in this procedure include:
- Taking X-rays to look for signs of infection in surrounding areas and to determine the shape of the root canals
- Using a local anesthetic to anesthetized the area
- Drilling a hole into the tooth
- Removal of all the pulp using small dental instruments
- Cleaning and disinfecting the tooth for filling
- Filling the treated tooth with reabsorbable material
As compared to the pulpectomy procedure, a root canal treatment generally requires more than one visit to the dentist. In root canal treatment, the dentist will first perform the pulpectomy procedure in which the entire root canal system is cleaned, shaped, filled, and sealed. In most cases, the dentist uses a temporary crown and the patient is asked to return for permanent filling and a permanent crown after a few days of the initial treatment.
Why Pulpectomy is Required?
In case of severe decay, trauma, or pulp infection, the complete pulp structure may need to be removed. A Pulpectomy is required to remove the entire pulp tissue, clean the crown and root structure of the tooth, and filling the cleaned structure with a therapeutic filling material. The procedure is mainly performed to save a baby tooth that reserves a space for the permanent tooth. If not treated on time, a premature loss of a baby tooth may lead to various serious problems like difficulty in chewing, speech development issues, adjoining teeth moving into the space, crooked or overcrowded teeth, etc.
How Much Time Does It Take to Recover After Pulpectomy?
Generally, a person is able to return to his or her normal activities right away after a pulpectomy procedure is performed. You just need to follow all the instructions given by your dentist regarding the post-treatment recovery process. Some of the usual things that you can follow after pulpectomy is performed include:
- Avoid eating until the numbness from the anesthetic disappears.
- In case, the tooth was severely infected, the dentist may prescribe some antibiotics. Make certain to take all of them as prescribed even if the tooth seems better.
- You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers if the area around the treated tooth feels slightly swollen and sensitive.
- You can continue with your regular oral care like brushing and flossing as normal.
Even after following the above-mentioned after treatment instructions, if you found any unusual symptoms like increased pain, pain lasting for more than a few days, inability to chew, new inflammation or signs of infection around the tooth, or increased sensitivity to heat and cold, you must call the dentist and take his advice on how to tackle the situation.
What Precautions Can be Taken to Avoid Pulpectomy?
If you don’t want your child to undergo an intense dental procedure, there are ways to lessen the risk of damage or infection in the pulp. Here are some of the key tips to follow in order to avoid pulpectomy:
- Encouraging good dental care habits in your kids at a very young age is one of the best ways to help protect their teeth and reduce the risk of decay or infection.
- Teach your child to brush his or her teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This will help to reduce the risk of developing cavities and decay and ultimately lowering the risk of pulp infection.
- Make your child drink water with meals to wash away sugar and acids. You can also replace sugary drinks with water or milk.
- Regular dental visits are also essential. This will help to detect the early signs of decay and if there are any signs of decay, the dentist can prescribe the right treatment before it develops into a serious condition.
How Much a Pulpectomy Treatment Costs?
The cost of a pulpectomy procedure generally depends upon various factors such as:
- Which tooth needs to be treated
- Number of imaging tests taken
- Whether you have dental insurance
- Your insurance co-pays and deductibles
- Who is performing the procedure- a dentist, pediatric dentist, or endodontist
Apart from the above-mentioned procedures, the cost can be considerably higher if you are having a root canal with a permanent crown. Whether you are getting a pulpectomy or a root canal treatment in Roswell, your dentist should be able to give you an estimate before the procedure. In case, you are having dental insurance, you can consult with your insurer prior to the procedure to determine what portion of the treatment may be covered.
Although, it is not always possible or required to save a baby tooth. However, if the situation arises for you to go through the pulpectomy, the procedure can be really helpful to restore the teeth and prevent various associated problems such as speech issues, chewing problem, overcrowding of teeth, etc. To check the viability of this procedure, it is advisable to consult your dentist and ask whether this is the best option or not.
FAQs About Pulpectomy
Let’s have a look at some of the frequently asked questions about the pulpectomy procedure.
1. How long is the pulpectomy procedure?
Usually performed in the dentist’s office, a pulpectomy procedure can take about an hour, and in some complicated cases, it may take quite a long time.
2. Is pulpectomy safe?
Yes, a pulpectomy is a very safe procedure. It helps to save the primary teeth and prevents the chances of infection to the permanent tooth bud. If tooth enamel gets
damaged by decay, a pulpectomy procedure becomes necessary to avoid further complications.
3. How long will a pulpectomy last?
Since pulpectomy is usually performed on a baby tooth, it can stay as far as the tooth stays in its position. The procedure ensures that the infection will not spread to
neighboring teeth or surrounding gums.
4. Is a pulpectomy necessary?
A pulpectomy is usually performed to save a badly damaged baby tooth, especially when it creates a problem in chewing, speech or has resulted in overcrowding. It is advisable to consult your dentist to determine the tooth’s viability and whether pulpectomy will work or not.
5. Does my child need a pulpectomy?
If suggested by your dentist, you must go for a pulpectomy. When a cavity is ignored for too long, it can infect the soft pulp within a child’s tooth and create problems like toothache and tooth sensitivity, especially to hot and cold temperatures. Besides, if your child has sustained any kind of dental trauma or injury, it can result in a cracked or broken tooth. In both cases, your dentist may recommend a pulpectomy treatment.