Extractions & Pulpotomies
When a tooth is significantly decayed, there are several options for treatment. Oahu Pediatric Dentistry’s team of dental experts has the necessary experience to identify and then safely complete the best treatment strategy that is most desirable for the patient. These can sometimes be necessary for young children.
If the tooth cannot be saved with a filling, crown or other procedure, sometimes the dentist might recommend an extraction. In this instance, the area around the tooth is numbed with a local anesthetic. Sometimes, if the patient wishes, he or she may undergo general anesthesia for the extraction. Once the area is safely numbed to avoid pain, our dentist then gently pulls the tooth from the root using specialized dental tools.
Sometimes, there are other reasons to extract a tooth. For example, a wisdom tooth may be removed if it erupts abnormally from the gum and causes issues such as pain or grows sideways into the adjacent teeth. Similarly, our dentist might remove a tooth to prepare for orthodontic treatment - the practice of aligning the teeth, typically with braces. Traumatic damage to a tooth may warrant an extraction as well.
Other times, more major health concerns might cause a dentist to remove a tooth. If decay has spread to the pulp (inside of the tooth) and there is a risk of bacterial infection, the safest course of action might be to extract the decayed tooth.
After the extraction, there are several options to restore ideal appearance and functionality. Implants might be considered, where a false tooth is attached to the jawbone and then functions like a natural tooth.
The inside of the tooth is called the “pulp.” As an alternative to extraction, pulpotomy involves removing any diseased or infected portions of the pulp and applying a special medication in an attempt to save the remaining pulp tissue.
This is often practiced on primary teeth (sometimes called baby teeth) because these have larger pulp spaces, making the procedure easier and more effective. Permanent teeth – the ones that come in after primary teeth fall out in children – are more difficult to treat with pulpotomy. Usually, when the pulp has been damaged, these teeth are treated with root canals. However, in some instances, a pulpotomy is still an option for permanent teeth. We can discuss your options based on your circumstances and decide the best course of action.
Recovering from Extraction or Pulpotomy
Although safe and effective, there is a recovery period once a tooth has been extracted or a pulpotomy performed. The jaw may be sore once the anesthesia wears off, the gums will likely be tender, and chewing may be painful. These conditions are not life-threatening, just uncomfortable. Avoid eating hard food for several days as well as other painful activity. The gums will heal themselves over several days in healthy individuals.
Contact the friendly staff at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry at (808) 201-9956 to schedule your consultation today. The expert dentists can determine whether an extraction or pulpotomy is necessary in your child's case.