March 20, 2021
Tooth infections are one of the most common dental emergencies, and adults as well as children can experience them. Even baby teeth need to be treated because of the crucial role that they play in the development of the smile of a little one, which is why pediatric dentists offer a specialized treatment called a pulpotomy, or pulpectomy. Not only can this treatment help ease their pain, but it can also preserve their smile so it can grow up to be healthy and happy. Read on to learn the signs of whether your little one needs a pulpotomy and what exactly is done during this procedure.
Signs of a Tooth Infection in a Child
Just like adult teeth, baby teeth can become infected due to an untreated cavity. Plus, because children don’t have fully developed immune systems, they’re often considered at an even higher risk than adults of developing an oral infection. Here are some signs that could signify that your little one has a serious tooth infection:
- Their infected tooth is a darker color than their surrounding teeth.
- Their gums around the affected tooth are swollen or red.
- They have extreme sensitivity or dental pain.
- They aren’t eating as much as they normally do or are complaining of nausea or have a fever.
- They have chronic bad breath that they can’t get rid of, even by brushing and flossing.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, immediate action is crucial. Immediately contact their pediatric dentist for an emergency examination so they can get to the bottom of the issue at hand.
Why is it Important to Preserve Baby Teeth?
Even though baby teeth eventually fall out on their own, they play a key role in your child’s development. Without them, they may feel self-conscious in social situations, develop lisps or speech impediments as they’re learning how to speak, or even have a hard time eating nutritious foods because of the gaps in their smile. That’s why pediatric dentists often suggest a pulpotomy instead of a tooth extraction if your child has a dental infection that’s bothering them.
What Happens During a Pulpotomy?
Most pediatric dental specialists offer safe sedation for children who are undergoing more invasive treatments, like a pulpotomy. That way, your child feels comfortable in the treatment chair and doesn’t have a traumatic experience that could impact the way they view the dentist’s office for the rest of their life. After administering any sedation, they’ll inject a local anesthetic to numb the affected tooth and make your child’s pain disappear. They’ll then remove any decayed tooth and debris and access the pulp of their tooth through its biting surface. They will remove the infected portion of the pulp and restore the structure of your child’s tooth using a substance called gutta percha. Finally, they’ll top off their tooth with a small dental crown made just for them to restore its strength.
Many children who have had a pulpotomy go on to continue enjoying their natural tooth until their permanent one is ready to grow in, allowing them to utilize it to learn basic skills like speaking. Even though the process may sound daunting, your child’s pediatric dentist will be able to eliminate their pain and help restore their smile’s health.
About the Author
Dr. Angelica Rohner taught special education for two years before deciding to go to dental school. After that, she completed a specialized pediatric dental residency and received an advanced degree in Pediatric Dentistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has always loved educating and helping children grow up with necessary skills and knowledge that will help keep them healthy and happy throughout their life, which is why she became a dentist! She offers fast and pain-relieving children’s emergency dental care to help during those unexpected life moments as well. For questions or to schedule an urgent examination, visit her website or call 205-870-0892.
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