To understand pulp treatment, it is vital to know the anatomy of the tooth. The tooth is made of a hard outer layer-enamel. The enamel provides cover for the dentin, and inside the dentin lies the pulp. The pulp is a soft tissue that houses blood vessels, connective tissue, and nerves. Over time, the pulp may become damaged as a result of pulp exposure, trauma, or infection by bacteria. Pulpitis is a word that denotes painful inflammation of the pulp. In children, the dentist employs pulp treatment or pulp therapy to help fight decay on the primary teeth and prevent extensive damage when permanent teeth finally erupt.
Signs and Symptoms of Pulpitis
Various signs will show you that the primary tooth may need direct pulp therapy. They include:
- Sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods
- Toothaches that can be mild or severe
- Swelling in the lymph nodes
- Bad breath and taste in the mouth
Causes and Risk Factors
Pulpitis comes about due to the compromise of the protective dentin and enamel, which may allow the penetration of bacteria in the tooth and causes swelling and the need for pulpal treatment. Cavities, injury, fractured teeth, and dental issues such as bruxism may contribute to pulpitis, which causes a need for pulp treatment.
Pulp Treatment Methods
The three pulp treatment techniques applied include direct pulp capping, pulpotomy, and pulpectomy. Each of these methods is unique and is used to treat based on whether pulpitis is reversible or not. The dentist treats reversible pulpitis by extracting the decayed area and using a filling for restoration. However, the dentist may refer you to a specialist such as an endodontist who will take you through the process of pulpectomy. Pulpectomy involves the removal of the entire dental pulp while leaving the tooth intact.
Pulpotomy, on the other hand, is restorative and may be used by dentists to prevent the spread of tooth decay. During a pulpotomy, dentists remove only a part of the tooth pulp, not interfering with the rest of the pulp chamber, hoping that the healthy pulp can be restored.
Pulp capping involves capping healthy, exposed pulp tissue with calcium hydroxide, and then filling the tooth to solve the issue of exposure and prevent the need for further treatment of the tooth. The dentist may mostly recommend this for the treatment of primary teeth if the pulp is exposed due to physical trauma and not decay.
These procedures are vital as they can help prevent the need for a root canal and any further complications when the child finally starts to bear permanent teeth. However, a damaged, permanent tooth may require a root canal treatment.