When the hard exterior of a tooth is damaged, it can cause the soft roots and nerves within the tooth to become infected. In many cases, the best way to save the tooth from dying is to have a procedure known as a pulpectomy (also known as a “baby” root canal).
During the procedure, the damaged pulp is removed. While we more commonly hear about root canal procedures being done to adults, there are many reasons that a pulpectomy should be performed on a deciduous tooth. Since primary teeth are going to fall out anyway, many people think that the tooth should just be pulled. However, a child’s tooth serves more purposes than just waiting for the adult tooth to erupt.
primary teeth are vitally necessary for eating and speaking. They also ensure that the surrounding teeth are in the proper position, which also sets up where the adult teeth will erupt. A missing primary tooth could cause neighboring teeth to spread and require orthodontic treatments later.
Since primary teeth are made to break in half before falling out in order to leave the short root behind to allow it to be reabsorbed, the material used during the pulpectomy is able to be reabsorbed into the body just like the tooth.
To avoid needing a procedure like a pulpectomy, be sure to instill proper oral hygiene habits from a young age. This will help keep the enamel in healthy shape and will prevent the pulp from getting infected. If your child plays sports, also consider getting them a mouthguard to protect their teeth while playing.