Your child’s teeth are important for many reasons. You do your best to make sure that their teeth remain clean, which helps the teeth to remain strong and healthy. Clean, healthy teeth allow your child to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. In some cases, however, problems can arise that affect the health of their teeth. These issues, such as cavities and physical damage, can result in infections and pain. At Portland Children's Dentistry, we can help to treat damaged and infected teeth. Depending upon the severity of the issue, we may recommend extraction or pulpotomy.
An extraction is the process of removing a tooth from your child’s mouth. There are a few reasons why this might be necessary. One such reason is because of significant tooth decay. While a cavity can typically be treated with a filling or a crown, a tooth with much decay may not be salvageable.
Your child might require extraction in the event of an infection. In some cases, infections can be treated with a pulpotomy or pulpectomy. If the tooth cannot be treated, or a pulpotomy fails, tooth extraction may be recommended.
Extractions may be necessary if the tooth is significantly damaged, and cannot be repaired with other treatments. We may recommend an extraction if your child’s baby tooth refuses to fall out and is impeding the eruption of the adult tooth. Extractions are also sometimes recommended in cases of overcrowding. Removing one or more teeth helps to create space for successful orthodontic treatment.
Before recommending an extraction, we first perform a thorough oral examination. This allows us to rule out the potential for other treatments. Ideally, saving a tooth, baby or adult, is preferred. If it is not possible, though, we will then suggest extraction.
A pulpotomy is a treatment similar to a root canal. It is essentially a root canal for a baby tooth that helps to restore a tooth affected by a cavity that has started to approach the pulp, or soft tissue, inside. This treatment is done when the decay is confined to the crown, or top portion, of the tooth. It is much less invasive than an adult root canal, where the entire interior of the tooth is treated, including the root.
The first step of a pulpotomy is removing the decay. Next, the top portion of the pulp, the area affected by the decay, is removed. The root of the tooth remains intact. The inside of the crown is thoroughly cleaned out, and medication is applied where the nerve used to be. This helps to stop bleeding and destroys any bacteria that might still be inside. The last step of the treatment is to place a dental crown, which provides the treated tooth with protection as well as strength. This way, your child’s baby tooth can remain right where it is until it is ready to fall out on its own.
If your child has a damaged or decayed tooth, treatment is needed right away. Call Portland Children's Dentistry at (503) 893-2889 today to schedule an appointment.