Julie M. Russo D.M.D.Diplomate of the American
Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Learning Center › Treatment
The pulp of a tooth contains the blood supply and nerves. A healthy pulp is ideal, but if it is sick, medicine needs to be placed to maintain the vitality of the tooth.
Tooth decay and trauma are the main reasons for a tooth to require pulp therapy. Pulp therapy is often referred to as a "nerve treatment", "baby root canal", "pulpectomy" or "pulpotomy". The two common forms of pulp therapy in children's teeth are the pulpotomy and pulpectomy.
A pulpotomy removes the sick pulp tissue in the pulp chamber only. Once this is removed, medicine is placed to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. A stainless steel crown is generally placed at this time.
A pulpectomy is required when the entire pulp is involved, down the canals and not just in the chamber of the tooth. During this treatment, the diseased pulp tissue is completely removed from both the crown and root. The canals are cleaned, disinfected and filled with a resorbable material. Then a final restoration is placed.