A pulpectomy, often referred to as a “partial root canal,” is a common procedure in which a dentist removes all of the pulp from a tooth’s pulp chamber, from the crown and roots.
This procedure is recommended when the pulp has become infected and the infection cannot be resolved. The goal of the procedure is to prevent the infected pulp from spreading further, which can lead to the loss of one or more teeth.
The pulp is soft living tissue found inside all teeth. This tissue includes cells which generate dentin, the hard material from which teeth are made. When pulp becomes infected, it can cause considerable pain to the patient, and the infection can spread into the jaw and to neighboring teeth, making it a cause for major concern. Infections can often be identified visually, as the tooth or gumline may develop an abscess, and infections can also be seen with an x-ray of the involved tooth.
This procedure can also be performed on the primary teeth of a child, to reduce the risk of early primary tooth loss, which can cause bite and alignment problems. Ultimately, the dentist wants to prevent any premature tooth loss and ensure proper spacing is maintained for incoming permanent teeth.
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