A vital pulpotomy is a dental procedure where part of the tooth’s nerve tissue is removed. The nerve tissue is removed from the pulp of the tooth. The pulp of the tooth is located above the gum line and contains nerves and blood vessels. By comparison, a root canal is performed when the nerve tissue is damaged all the way to the roots of one’s teeth.
This procedure is generally performed on children who have a tooth that has decayed down to the crown part of the pulp, but whose nerves in the root of the tooth are still healthy. A vital pulpotomy is also performed when the pulp of one’s tooth has become exposed due to injury or trauma. This procedure removes the unhealthy part of the pulp, while leaving the healthy part in the root intact. A vital pulpotomy removes the decay while keeping the supporting tissues around a tooth intact.
When preformed correctly, a vital pulpotomy can also alleviate sensitivity and pain in one’s mouth. The type of tooth decay that a vital pulpotomy corrects can be extremely painful.
Before determining that this is the correct procedure to use, a dentist will take an X-ray in order to more closely examine the tooth’s position and anatomy. The X-ray will also show if the root of the tooth is infected. The actual procedure itself required local anesthesia, although sedation may be used. Sedation is generally used for this procedure to calm nervous children or really young children who are not able to understand what is happening.
Vital pulpotomies are often preformed on children’s primary teeth to avoid extracting a tooth with decay. Extracting a primary tooth can alter how the child’s permanent teeth come in and can cause problems down the road for the child.