When a cavity goes untreated, it can worsen and reach the center of the tooth where the pulp is located. At this point, there usually will be a lot of pain as the tooth is inflamed and infected, and it will be at risk for extraction. As a dentist’s goal is to save all of the natural teeth, however, a procedure called a root canal will most likely be recommended. This procedure in Scarsdale, NY removes the decay from a tooth and helps to preserve the natural structure, rather than calling for a prosthetic replacement.
If this situation occurs in your child (in a baby tooth), you may think that, because baby teeth fall out anyway, your dentist at Smile Scarsdale Pediatric Dentistry can simply go ahead and remove the tooth. However, saving a baby tooth may be just as important as saving a mature tooth. One reason for this is that premature loss of baby teeth can interfere with chewing. It can also inhibit or distort the speech development of a child. The most important reason for wanting to retain a baby tooth is to maintain its position until the permanent tooth is ready to come in. If it is lost before its time, the surrounding teeth may shift into that empty space and affect the overall alignment of your child’s teeth.
There are two types of root canals that can be performed on baby teeth. The first is called a pulpotomy. When tooth decay has reached the pulp, but the tooth root remains intact and healthy, a pulpotomy will be performed. In this procedure, the entire affected pulp chamber will be removed and refilled with dental cement. The tooth root will be left alone, and the tooth will have a crown placed on it to restore function to it until it is time for it to fall out.
If the infection extends from the pulp chamber into the roots, a pulpectomy will be needed. In this procedure, the pulp material will be removed from both the crown and roots of a tooth. The pulp chamber will also be cleaned and disinfected, then filled with dental cement. The tooth will be topped with a crown to finish the treatment.
If your child in Scarsdale, NY is suffering from a painful tooth, make an appointment at Smile Scarsdale Pediatric Dentistry where we can determine the cause and provide you with the dental care that you need.