If your child develops an infection within one of his or her teeth, the treatment may involve oral surgery. Here are three types of oral surgery that may be used to address the problem:
A Root Canal
A root canal involves the full removal of the pulp or living tissue that resides within the inner chambers of a tooth. The pulp, which houses the dental nerves and blood supply of the teeth, is suctioned away during a root canal. After the pulp has been removed, the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, and a disinfectant is applied to discourage the development of another dental infection.
Once the interior of a tooth is fully disinfected, it can be filled. Still, the filling is generally not enough to ensure that the tooth is properly fortified to a withstand bite pressure. Thus, it is also necessary to cover the tooth with a dental crown.
For a child, a root canal is generally reserved for a permanent tooth.
If your child's dentist believes that the dental infection is only contained in the upper portion of the pulp, a pulpotomy is performed. During a pulpotomy, the infected portion of the dental pulp is removed, and the tooth is filled and capped. A pulpotomy is usually performed on a primary tooth, so a stainless steel crown will likely be used in the restoration.
A stainless steel crown is often used in pediatric dentistry because it is less expensive than most other crown materials. In addition, the color of the crown is less important for primary teeth, because the teeth will eventually be shed.
A pulpectomy is also used to treat an infected primary tooth. However, the infection is likely throughout the entire pulp, including the area that extends into the root canals.
During a pulpectomy, the pulp is fully removed as it is with a root canal. However, the filling material must be absorbable by the body. This is because the primary tooth will be shed at some point. The roots of the primary tooth must be absorbed by the body, since they will be replaced by the roots of the permanent teeth.
After the tooth is filled, it is usually capped with a stainless steel crown.
If your child is experiencing signs of a tooth infection, such as a toothache, an abscess, or a darkened tooth, schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist in your area like those found at DSW Dental. He or she can assess the tooth and determine the best course of treatment.