I have a child who has a large cavity. The dentist wants to do a pulpotomy. It’s a baby tooth. The tooth is going to fall out anyway so can’t we just let nature take its course? At the most, I’d think we could just pull it. I feel like this is an unnecessary procedure.
It sounds like your pediatric dentist isn’t very good at explaining the reasons behind his treatment recommendations. As for whether you can just let the tooth fall out, it really depends on how far gone the tooth is and where the decay has reached. For instance, if the decay has reached the pulp of the tooth, which I suspect it has, leaving the tooth in place to fall out on its own will lead to a severe infection.
Tooth infections are a dental emergency. Unless the infection is physically removed it will continue to spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart and brain, you can see how a fast moving infection can turn life-threatening quickly.
Now, if it was a front tooth, just pulling it would be fine. Back molars are different. They have to stay in place until your child is around 12-years-old. Without that, the other teeth will shift which will cause severe crowding as his other teeth come in. Believe me, you do not want the added expense of braces if it can be at all avoided.
A pulpotomy is essentially a root canal treatment for children. It’s designed to remove the infection while still saving the tooth. There are times when the tooth can’t be saved. If your child’s decay progresses that far and the tooth has to be removed, make sure your pediatric dentist places a space maintainer there to keep the other teeth from shifting.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. John Weaver.