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Pulpotomy Vs. Pulpectomy: Which Procedure Will Heal Your Tooth?

Pulpotomy vs Pulpectomy: What’s the Difference?

Early childhood caries (cavities) is a serious public health problem (Gadallah, L et al.,2018).

When caries extend to involve the pulp, various forms of pulp treatment are used to try to repair and heal the tooth (Gadallah, L et al.,2018).

Dentists perform pulpotomies and pulpectomies (Gadallah, L et al.,2018).

Pulpotomy Vs. Pulpectomy

What Is a Pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is a dental procedure that dental health clinicians use to restore infected primary teeth in pediatric patients.If your child has the unfortunate event of tooth decay, cavities, or any other cause of infection in their teeth, your pediatric dentist might refer them for the procedure.

In general, baby teeth can develop infections when tooth decay and cavities are left untreated.This can happen because the decay destroys the outer layer of the tooth and attacks the soft pulp inside the child’s tooth or teeth.

This usually contributes to lots of pain and discomfort because of the numerous nerves present in the pulp. Additionally, if a child slips and falls, or has any other trauma to the teeth, bacteria can enter the tooth and can lead to an infection. This means that it is always essential to get emergency care if a child experiences oral trauma or injury.

Regardless of how the infection happens, when left untreated, overtime the oral bacteria will attack the pulp inside the tooth, eventually causing tooth death.Additionally, the nerves and blood vessels inside the tooth will also be destroyed, and the tooth will fall out. Therefore, it is essential that parents seek the help of the pediatric dentist.

That’s why a pulpotomy is used to prevent loss of the tooth due to tooth infections.

What is a pulpectomy?

During a pulpectomy, the pulp, the crown, and the roots of a tooth are removed.As mentioned above, a tooth’s pulp is the soft inner material that contains connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.

What Is The Difference Between A Pulpotomy And A Root Canal?

A pulpotomy is often referred to as a “baby root canal,” because it is very similar to a root canal that’s done on primary teeth. In a pulpotomy, as much of the pulp that can be preserved is preserved. This ensures the tooth remains vital (alive). This is important for baby teeth due to the immaturity of the tooth’s roots. Keeping the tooth alive lets the roots continue to grow and mature, and can help ensure the adult teeth erupt properly.

A root canal is also known as a “pulpectomy.” In this procedure, all of the pulp and roots from the child’s teeth are removed and then replaced with a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” It’s much more extensive, and is used as a kind of last resort.  The sooner the issue is caught and addressed, the better for the patient – and your budget.

Pulpotomy vs Pulpectomy: Procedures

The pulpotomy procedures are generally performed in pediatric patients who have an infected or severely infected primary tooth. If the pulpectomy procedure is being performed in adults, it is generally part of the root canal procedure.

In a pulpotomy procedure, the specialist dentist will open up the child’s tooth and remove the infected and damaged pulp from the upper part of the tooth. Then, the remaining pulp will be treated to protect the remaining pulp from infection. After this, the child’s tooth will be protected with a filling or a crown, and the procedure is complete.

Here are some of the steps your dentist might take to perform a pulp procedure:

  1. X-rays are taken to determine where the infection is present in surrounding areas and to get a look at the shape of the root canals.
  2. An anesthetic is used to numb the area.
  3. A hole is drilled into the tooth and the pulp is removed
  4. The tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and prepared for filling.

What to Expect During and After a Pulp Procedure?

If you have questions about a pulp procedure, you should speak to your dentist, who can give you better advice on what to expect during and after a pulp procedure.In usual cases, your child should be able to return to normal activities right away. Additionally, it is important to avoid eating until the numbness is worn off from the anesthetic.

If there was a severe infection, your child might be prescribed medication such as antibiotics. It is crucial that your child takes the prescribed medicine, even if they feel better and their teeth look better.

The area around your child’s tooth might be quite sensitive and slightly swollen for a few days and your dentist will likely prescribe pain medication. Speak to your dentist about your child’s dental hygiene, but you should continue in general to brush and floss as per normal. Call your dentist if there are any sinister signs or symptoms such as:

  • increasing pain
  • pain that lasts more than a few days
  • new inflammation or signs of infection around the tooth
  • increasing sensitivity to heat and cold
  • inability to chew on the tooth


Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy vs. Root Canal

A pulpotomy is performed on primary teeth where the infection is not as severe and some of the pulp can be spared.

A pulpectomy is usually performed on baby teeth and is described as the removal of pulp from the crown and roots. The tooth is then filled with material that can be reabsorbed by the body.

A root canal in adults begins with a pulpectomy, but the adult tooth gets a permanent filling or crown.

If you have more questions about these procedures, be sure to ask your dentist.  You can also contact our office at our contact us button to schedule an appointment and learn more.


Gadallah, L., Hamdy, M., El Bardissy, A., &Abou El Yazeed, M. (2018).Pulpotomy versus pulpectomy in the treatment of vital pulp exposure in primary incisors.A systematic review and meta-analysis.F1000Research, 7, 1560.