What is the Difference Between a Pulpotomy and a Root Canal?
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What is the Difference Between a Pulpotomy and a Root Canal?

Picture this: 

During your child’s last appointment, their dentist informed you that they would need to perform a pulpotomy to save their decayed tooth. 

When reading about the procedure, you find that a pulpotomy is often referred to as a “baby root canal.” Your heart stops for a bit. Having gone through a root canal and knowing how invasive it can be, you start wondering if the procedure is really necessary. 

Before you panic, here’s everything you need to know about pulpotomies and how they differ from root canals. 

What Is a Pulpotomy?

If a cavity has reached the inner layers of your child’s tooth, the dentist will likely recommend a pulpotomy. This procedure is meant to remove the infected pulp while leaving as much healthy tissue as possible. Pulpotomies can help preserve the tooth and prevent the need for an extraction, which can lead to more oral health problems in the long term. 

Don’t worry; your child will be perfectly safe during the procedure. The dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area before opening the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. Then, they will remove the infected tissue and clean and disinfect the pulp chamber. The tooth is then sealed and restored with a filling or crown. 

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal treats and saves a severely decayed or damaged tooth. The dentist will remove the infected pulp to preserve the tooth and prevent the need for a more extensive procedure, such as an extraction.

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. So, even though root canals can be quite invasive, you won’t feel much during the treatment. 

The dentist will drill a hole through your enamel to reach the decayed pulp. Once the pulp is removed and the tooth is cleaned, the dentist will seal it with a filling or crown. 

How Is a Pulpotomy Different from a Root Canal?

At first glance, pulpotomies and root canals seem very similar. However, there are some major differences between the two. 

For starters, a pulpotomy is performed on primary teeth and only removes the infected pulp from the top portion of the tooth, preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. 

A root canal, on the other hand, is performed on permanent teeth and removes the infected pulp from the entire tooth, including the roots. This is necessary to eliminate all signs of infection.

Does Your Child Need a Baby Root Canal? 

Finding out that your child needs a complex dental procedure, such as a pulpotomy, is never easy. But at Dr. Gary Sabbadini's pediatric dental office, you can rest assured that your little one will get the best care from a team of friendly professionals in a safe environment. 

If you have more questions about pulpotomies or want to schedule your child’s appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 510-724-4400.

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