I’m hoping you can help me. I go to the only pediatric dentist in our town. He does good work and has decent prices but he gets a little snippy when parents question him. It’s all part and parcel with living in a small town. At our last visit, he told me my daughter needed something called a pulpotomy on one of her baby teeth. When I question why we don’t just take out the baby tooth or wait for it to fall out he got annoyed and mumbled about how parents always think they know better than he does. When he gets like that I know to just move on. But, the sound of a pulpotomy sounds pretty scary. Is it a necessary procedure?
First, I want to say that is unacceptable behavior for any dentist, especially a pediatric dentist. He’s working with people’s children. Of course, you’re going to have questions. And he has a responsibility to answer them. I realize he’s the only pediatric dentist in your town, but you’re not stuck. Hopefully, your town has several general dentists. Many of them enjoy treating children and are fully qualified to as well.
Now to answer your question. A pulpotomy sounds much scarier than it actually is. It’s essentially just a child’s version of a root canal treatment, but much simpler. It’s usually done because there is deep decay or an infection. Typically, it’s only done on molars because they need to stay until the child is twelve years old. If they lose those, their teeth will shift and crowd together. Then you’re talking about expensive braces.
How a Pediatric Pulpotomy Works
When doing a pulpotomy, most of the pulp of the baby tooth is removed down to the roots, and the tissue inside the roots is daubed with a disinfectant such as formocresol. The tooth is then sealed and usually covered with a stainless steel crown. It’s a fairly simple procedure and not nearly as traumatic as the adult version.
Most children are more relaxed with some form of sedation dentistry. In fact, they’ll probably just sleep through the procedure. Doing the pulpotomy prevents them from having an extraction, which would be more traumatic.
Feel free to ask any more questions.
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