What is pulp therapy?

The pulp of a tooth is the inner central core of the tooth. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue and reparative cells. The purpose of pulp therapy in pediatric dentistry is to maintain the vitality of the affected tooth so the tooth does not die and need to be removed.

Dental caries (cavities) and traumatic injury are the main reasons for a tooth to require pulp therapy. Pulp therapy is often referred to as a "nerve treatment," "children's root canal," "pulpectomy," “partial root canal” or "pulpotomy". The two common forms of pulp therapy in children's teeth are the pulpotomy and pulpectomy.

A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp tissue within the crown portion of the tooth. Next, an agent is placed to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. This is followed by a final restoration (usually a stainless steel crown).

A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved into the root canal(s) of the tooth. During this treatment, the diseased pulp tissue is completely removed from both the crown and root. The canals are cleansed, disinfected and, in the case of primary teeth, filled with a resorbable material. (A permanent tooth would be filled with a non-resorbing material.) Then a final restoration is placed.

Pulp therapy is done to save affected teeth, to treat infection and to prevent pain, suffering and swelling. The best way to save the space for the permanent teeth is to protect and save the baby teeth. Tooth extraction is a last resort in almost every case.


Back to Children Dentistry


Contact Us