What is the Difference Between Pulpotomy and Pulpectomy?

What is the Difference Between Pulpotomy and Pulpectomy?

Team Endodontics

Pulpotomy and Pulpectomy are both dental procedures. If you’re wondering about the difference between them, we’re here to explain. 

Pulp is the Center of the Tooth

Both procedures involve the pulp that’s located in the center of the tooth. Unseen to the eye, the pulp is vitally important, and is made up of tissues, blood vessels, and nerves all necessary to carry nutrients and oxygen to the tooth itself.

The pulp can become damaged, which compromises the health of the tooth, causing decay, pain, and pulp exposure and inflammation. 

How Pulp Problems are Treated

Pulpotomy and Pulpectomy are both dental procedures that treat the pulp tissue of damaged teeth. Each procedure is important, and used in different ways.

What is a Pulpotomy?

In pulpotomy, the coronal part of the pulp is removed. A pulpotomy is a common procedure, similar to a root canal, and is often referred to as a “mini root canal.” It restores and saves a tooth that’s infected from a deep cavity which needs treatment to avoid inflammation and infection which can in turn cause an abscessed tooth.  

The procedure works like this:

  • A topical anesthetic is applied to the gums to numb the area. 
  • A local anesthetic is then administered
  • A rubber dam is placed to isolate the tooth and reduce saliva 
  • A high speed and slow-speed handpiece are used to clean the cavity
  • The pulp will be removed and thoroughly excavated
  • Treatment will be applied to stop bleeding
  • The chamber is filled with a recommended material
  • The tooth is sealed and covered with a crown to protect it

What is a Pulpectomy? 

In a pulpectomy procedure, the crown and the root canal of the pulp chamber are removed. The procedure is very similar to that of a root canal. During a pulpectomy, your dentist removes 

the pulp from the damaged teeth completely, from the crown to the roots. After the damaged pulp is removed, the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, filled, and covered. 

The procedure takes place in this way:

  • A local anesthetic to reduce pain and discomfort is applied to the area
  • A hole is drilled to access the pulp
  • The pulp is removed from the roots
  • Antibiotics reduce the risk of infection

Note that a pulpectomy is not a final treatment. When there is severe infection or other factors that prevent a complete root canal, medicine is placed in the canal until the patient can:

  • Return to complete the root canal
  • A crown is placed to cover and protect the tooth

What to Expect After Either Procedure

To facilitate healing, our dental team will plan and consult about the patient’s aftercare. Healing is quick, but there may be some amount of swelling and sensitivity while chewing. By following simple aftercare instructions, recovery should only take a few days. Any mild discomfort can be alleviated with over-the-counter analgesics to handle it.

All that needs to be done is:

  • Take any pain relief medication we recommend for discomfort
  • Avoid chewing on the site of the procedure for a day or two
  • Choose soft foods for a day or two following the procedure, such as smoothies, scrambled eggs, ice cream. 

Ready to Learn More?

If you’d like to learn more about Pulpotomy and Pulpectomy, and the differences between the procedures, or to schedule a consultation, just reach out to us today. At Eagle Endodontics, we’re here to help!