A deep cavity in your child's baby tooth may go into the nerve or pulp of the tooth. In this case, a pulpotomy is recommended to save the tooth. A pulpotomy of a baby tooth is similar to a root canal treatment of an adult tooth. It removes all the coronal pulp tissue from the chamber of the tooth. When the pulp becomes irrevocably inflamed or the nerve dies, a root canal procedure is typically recommended. Traditionally, a latex material, called gutta percha, is used to fill in the pulpal area. A root canal is then considered successful if there is no pain and upon x-ray, the bone appears normal.Root-canaled teeth are essentially "dead" teeth that can become silent incubators for highly toxic anaerobic bacteria that can, under certain conditions, make their way into your bloodstream to cause a number of serious medical conditions—many not appearing until decades later.
How do you know if you have an infected tooth?
Although some people have no symptoms, the following are common signs of tooth infection and the possible need for root canal treatment:
- sensitivity to cold and heat, which also can be caused by toothbrush abrasion
- pain or throbbing while biting, which also can be caused by tooth grinding
- swelling, which also can be caused by periodontal disease
- severe tooth decay
- a bad taste in your mouth
What does treatment involve?
The length of the root canals is determined, the unhealthy pulp is carefully removed, and the canals are cleaned, enlarged, and shaped. Medications may be put in the pulp chamber and root canal to help remove germs and prevent infection.
If the tooth is severely infected, the tooth may be left open for a few days to drain. A temporary filling is placed in the crown to protect the tooth between dental visits. If the procedure is completed in one day, the canals are filled and then sealed. Antibiotics are sometimes prescribed to help control infection.
A crown or filling is usually placed over the tooth for further protection.