What Is A Pulpotomy?

What Is A Pulpotomy?

Team Root Canals

In the past, if a patient’s dental pulp was infected, performing a root canal or extracting the tooth were typically the only treatment options available. That’s no longer the case. A patient who doesn’t need a full root canal may now be a candidate for a pulpotomy.

This overview explains what a pulpotomy is and why a patient may need one. Your dentist might recommend this treatment if they determine you don’t need to undergo a complete root canal procedure.

What is Pulp in a Tooth?

Understanding the nature of a tooth’s pulp and the purpose it serves can help a patient better understand what a pulpotomy involves. Pulp is a general term for a tooth’s innermost layer. A tooth’s pulp serves to:

  • Provide a tooth with nutrients
  • Facilitate the creation of dentin to heal an injury
  • Allow an individual to sense pain or extreme temperatures via their teeth

Because a tooth’s pulp is relatively deep within a tooth, it’s not immediately vulnerable to damage. However, due to such factors as injury or significant dental decay, pulp can become infected. A pulpotomy may be necessary when this happens.

What Does a Pulpotomy Involve?

A pulpotomy is essentially a less invasive alternative to a root canal treatment. While a root canal involves removing all of a tooth’s pulp, a pulpotomy only involves removing the top area of the pulp.

The specifics of the procedure may vary somewhat depending on a patient’s needs. Generally, though, a pulpotomy consists of:

  • Removing the affected pulp
  • Applying a substance to the remainder of the pulp to guard against such issues as irritation and bacterial growth
  • Usually, protecting the rest of the tooth with a crown

A pulpotomy is a more involved procedure than a typical filling. That said, again, it’s not as invasive as a root canal procedure.

Benefits of a Pulpotomy

If your dentist recommends a pulpotomy, scheduling the procedure as soon as they suggest doing so is wise. Benefits of getting a pulpotomy when you need one include:

  • Reducing pain
  • Preventing an infection from spreading
  • Ensuring a tooth remains healthy enough to continue serving its purpose

Perhaps most importantly, a pulpotomy can save a tooth a patient might otherwise lose. A dentist might also recommend a pulpotomy for a young patient due to it being less invasive than root canal treatment.

Does Getting a Pulpotomy Hurt?

Inflamed and infected pulp can cause significant pain. Removing the infected tissue through a pulpotomy will often effectively address a patient’s discomfort.

That said, perhaps you’re reluctant to get a pulpotomy because you fear experiencing pain during the procedure itself or in the immediate aftermath. Luckily, while a study in the Iranian Endodontic Journal indicates slightly more than half of young children who undergo this procedure experience some pain in the aftermath, said pain tends to be minimal. In the long run, getting a pulpotomy usually helps a patient avoid greater pain.

Pulpotomy: When a Root Canal Isn’t Necessary

The only person who can decide whether you need a root canal or whether a pulpotomy is sufficient is your dentist. They will also be happy to answer any additional questions you may have about this topic, ensuring you feel comfortable with your treatment.

Learn More About Pulpotomies in Edmond, OK

At Contemporary Endodontics of Oklahoma, we offer pulpotomies to patients when a full root canal isn’t necessary. If you believe this is a treatment you may need to undergo, contact us online or call us today at 405-285-5042 to request an appointment.