If you have a severe dental infection, the pulp within your tooth may need to be treated. The pulp of a tooth is the soft material within a tooth that contains the dental nerves and blood vessels.
Once a tooth infection ensues, you may experience multiple uncomfortable symptoms, such as the presentation of an abscess on the gums surrounding the tooth, foul breath, relentless tooth pain, increased sensitivity to heat and cold and foul-smelling liquid oozing from the gums near the tooth. Even after the infection is treated with antibiotics, your dentist may need to choose an appropriate pulp therapy.
Pulpotomies and root canals are both used to treat tooth infections. Here is a bit of information to explain how they differ:
A pulpotomy usually involves the removal of only a section of the pulp from the dental crown, which is the portion of the tooth that lies above the gum line. During the procedure, the area of the pulp that has become inflamed is excised from the tooth. Then, a disinfecting agent is used to clean the interior of the tooth. Once the tooth has been sufficiently disinfected, a filling is applied to seal the opening. The tooth is subsequently protected by the application of a crown.
Pulpotomies are most frequently performed on pediatric patients. However, adults may receive a therapeutic pulpotomy instead of a root canal if only a portion of the pulp is infected.
In some cases, a dental infection can reoccur after a pulpotomy has been performed. Still, the procedure is usually advisable for children, since the roots of a primary tooth will eventually be absorbed before the eruption of an adult tooth. Extractions are usually not advisable when it comes to primary teeth, because the teeth still serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth that will eventually replace them.
During a root canal, all pulp material is removed, even the portion that lies within the roots of the tooth. During the procedure, the soft pulp is extracted and the interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The tooth is then filled and capped with a crown.
Since all of the pulp is removed, the patient should have no pain or discomfort following the procedure. In addition, there is little chance of a recurrent infection.
To learn more about pulpotomies and root canals, schedule a consultation with a dentist such as Webster John B DDS.