2 Dental Procedures For Removing Damaged Pulp And Retaining The Tooth

20 May 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Blog

The interior of a tooth has a central root canal system that leads from the upper dentin down to the tooth roots. This canal is filled with a material called pulp, which is made up of a collection of nerves, blood and tissue cells that all help keep the tooth vital and strong. Tooth decay that wears through the dentin and trauma-related fractures can cause pulp damage. Extensive pulp damage can make your tooth more vulnerable to infections and even necrosis, which would require dental extraction.

If you have a tooth that has suffered pulp damage, there are a couple of different procedures your general dentistry office could use to remove the damaged pulp and increase the likelihood that you can keep the tooth. The procedure used will largely depend on your age and whether the tooth in question is a baby or adult tooth.


A pulpotomy involves removing only the damaged part of the pulp and leaving behind the pulp that is still healthy, such as the pulp down in the tooth roots. Dentists usually use a pulpotomy as part of a general root canal procedure.

During a root canal treatment, the dentist opens the dentin with a drill then scrapes out the damaged pulp in the pulpotomy portion of the procedure. The vacated cavity is then rinsed with an antiseptic wash and filled with a dissolving biocement. The biocement holds that portion of the cavity firm until healthy pulp material can come back up the canal to take the cement's place.

The procedure is finished off with a dental crown to cover the entry hole in the dentin.


A pulpectomy is also called a partial root canal despite the fact that a pulpectomy removes more pulp than a pulpotomy. Dentists generally only use pulpectomy procedures on child patients with severe pulp damage that requires that all of the pulp be removed to retain the tooth.

An adult tooth in this situation might be extracted and replaced with a dental implant. So why would a dentist bother to perform a root canal procedure on a tooth that won't have any viable pulp tissue left?

Baby teeth are meant to fall out eventually, so the dentist only needs to buy the tooth some time to fall out naturally. Premature loss of a baby tooth can cause the underlying adult tooth to come in prematurely, which can cause bite issues with neighboring teeth and require eventual orthodontic treatment. To find out more, speak with someone like Randolph Dental Group