When the nerve of a primary tooth is somehow penetrated by bacteria or exposed due to a fracture, pulp therapy (a pulpotomy) is necessary to save the tooth. This is often referred to as a "baby tooth root canal," "nerve treatment," or "pulpectomy."
Deep cavities can get close to or into the pulp (inner tissue) of a tooth. The pulpal tissue can become irritated and inflamed, causing severe toothaches for children. If the inflammation and infection continues without treatment, the tooth will likely eventually abscess and need an extraction. Pulpotomies are typically performed on baby molars so that the child does not lose vital teeth prematurely. Baby teeth are needed for speech, chewing and for maintaining space for permanent teeth.
During pulp therapy, the infected part of the nerve is removed and a sedative medication is placed inside the tooth to prevent sensitivity and to promote healing. The tooth is generally capped with a steel crown following the procedure.
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