My pediatric dentist wants to schedule my son, who is only 6 years old, for a pulpotomy procedure. Is this really necessary for a baby tooth that is going to fall out anyway?
I am glad you wrote. I never want parents to allow their child to have a procedure they don’t understand. For those who may not know, a pulpotomy is a child’s version of a root canal treatment. It is only useful if the tooth is a molar.
While most baby teeth can come out early with no serious repercussions, back molars need to stay in place until your son is around 12 years old. Otherwise, the adjacent teeth will begin to shift or tip into the empty place. Then, when his adult molars erupt, you are looking at a lot of crowding and expensive orthodontics. Every parent wants to avoid braces if at all possible.
So, if it is a back tooth, you will either want to get the pulpotomy or extract the tooth and then have a space maintainer placed to keep the area open for the adult teeth.
If it is not a back tooth, then you will not need the pulpotomy. However, it is also important that you deal with the tooth. I am assuming that he suggested this treatment because the tooth has an infection. These are considered dental emergencies so you will not want to leave it.
Infections spread. If you think about how close your child’s jaw is to his heart, lungs, and brains, you can see how these things can turn life-threatening quickly.
If your pediatric dentist was not willing to explain why he or she thought you needed one, I feel strongly you would be better served with a different dentist for your precious son. Parents are the ones responsibile for their children and they deserve to have all the information in order to make the best possible decisions for their children.
If you can’t find a great pediatric dentist in your area, there are plenty of general dentists who love to treat entire families, including their children. Each of them has done a pediatric rotation and will be qualified to provide their dental care.
This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.