The pulp in your child’s teeth is the tissue, nerves and blood vessels filling the interior cavity and root canals of a tooth. The function of the pulp is to provide a blood supply with oxygen and nutrients for the tooth. Teeth affected by caries, traumatic injury, or other causes can lead to pulp exposure, pain, and inflammation. When this occurs the primary objective of pulp therapy is to maintain the integrity and health of the tooth and the supporting tissues. This is especially important in young permanent teeth with immature roots, the pulp is integral to the normal development of the apex of the root of a tooth.
What is Pulp?
The pulp is found at the center inside each tooth. It consists of tissue, nerves and blood vessels that work to provide the tooth with oxygen and nutrients and keep it healthy.
Signs of Injured or Damaged Pulp?
Teeth, which are damaged by either traumatic injury or decay, can lead to pulp exposure that causes severe pain and swelling to the affected area. Signs of inflamed or infected pulp include:
- Constant or unexplained pain
- Nighttime pain
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food temperatures
- Swelling around the infected tooth
What is pulp therapy?
Pulp therapy is a procedure in which the dentist will maintain the tooth so it is not lost. The two most common forms of pulp therapy are pulpotomy and pulpectomy. A pulpotomy removes the diseased pulp within the crown of the tooth. The pulp root remains healthy and unaffected. Once the diseased portion has been removed an agent is placed in the tooth to prevent bacteria growth and infection and calm the nerve of the tooth. Finally, a crown is placed on the tooth. The crown strengths the tooth and minimizes the risk of future fractures. Pulpoptomy can be used a treatment on the baby or permanent teeth.
Pulpectomy is necessary when the entire pulp is involved from the crown to the root canals of the tooth. The diseased pulp is completely removed from the tooth. The canals are then cleansed, disinfected and packed with a reabsorbable material. If the tooth is a permanent tooth, a non-reabsorbable material is used. The final step is to place a crown over the tooth to provide strength and support to the tooth.