What is it
A pulpectomy is a procedure in which the inner soft tissue of the tooth (i.e., the pulp) is removed from an infected tooth.
It is also described as partial root canal treatment, since it comprises the first half of root canal treatment, and is commonly performed on primary teeth. It differs in that, upon filling the tooth’s canal(s), a resorbable material is commonly used, as the roots of primary teeth are resorbed when the adult teeth erupt.
When is it needed / Risks of not getting it done
A pulpectomy is often recommended when the pulp has become infected in such a way that it cannot simply be resolved with antibiotics.
The infection creates an abscessed tooth, which, if left untreated, can lead to swelling of the face, head, and/or neck. Additionally, bone loss in the surrounding region is likely as well as infection of the surrounding bone and soft tissues.
This procedure is typically performed on infected primary teeth of children because it reduces the risk of early primary tooth loss, which can cause bite and alignment problems.
How is it done
- First, a small access hole in the tooth’s surface is created.Next, the pulp, decayed nerve tissue, and related debris are removed from the tooth’s canal(s).
- The root’s canal(s) are thoroughly disinfected with antibacterial solution and then prepared (i.e., slightly enlarged and shaped) to receive the filling material.
- Lastly, the tooth’s root canal(s), pulp chamber, and surface access hole are all filled with a restorable material and sealed.