What Is the Difference Between a Pulpotomy & Pulpectomy?

Stages of Tooth Decay Chart

When you do not care for your teeth with regular dental visits, dental decay often occurs, resulting in cavities. Cavities eat through the protective outer enamel layer of the tooth and into the interior the longer they go untreated. Eventually, this can lead to a toothache, causing you to search for dentists that offer oral surgery near me to get a pulpotomy or pulpectomy. 

It is easy to find an oral surgeon near you at Absolute Dental. (844) 8‑SMILE‑NOW
(844) 876‑4536

Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy 

While both procedures resolve cavities and toothaches, there are some differences you need to know about pulpotomy vs. pulpectomy dental care. The inside of a healthy tooth contains pulp, which consists of nerves and blood vessels.

Without regular dental care, the pulp can become infected. To treat the infection, your dentist has to remove the pulp. However, which procedure is used depends on whether the pulp in the roots is still alive or has died. 

What is a pulpotomy?

A pulpotomy is an oral surgery procedure used when the pulp in the root is still alive and infection-free. First, the pulp in the upper part of the tooth that is infected is removed. Next, it is filled with medicated material to ensure the infection does not return. Then the tooth is sealed using a filling. 

What is a pulpectomy?

A pulpectomy is used to save the tooth when the pulp in the tooth root has died. The procedure removes all infected pulp in the upper and lower part of the tooth. If there is no abscess or infection in the root, then a root canal is not always required.

However, if the tooth is abscessed or there is an infection in the root, a pulpectomy is the first step in a complete root canal treatment. A root canal is where the pulp and tooth root are filled with material. Then the tooth is sealed.

If the tooth is in decent condition or not where it is easily noticed, then you may not require a dental crown. However, if you have concerns about how your tooth will look, then getting cosmetic teeth surgery is recommended to get a crown. 

What are the functions of the pulp of the tooth?

The functions of the pulp of the tooth are to:

  • Create Dentin – Dentin is the middle tooth layer that protects the pulp and supports the outer enamel layer. 
  • Keep the Dentin Healthy – The pulp provides essential nutrients and moisture to the dentin layer to help it remain healthy.
  • Sense Changes in the Tooth – The nerves in the pulp detect changes in temperature, pressure, and pain and send the appropriate signals to the brain. 

Is it safe to leave a tooth with an open root canal?

Woman with Tooth Pain

In cases where your tooth root was infected and a pulpectomy was performed, the tooth may be left open for a short period to ensure the infection is healed. The root canal is usually filled with antibiotics and then allowed to drain for a few days before it is filled and sealed. 

However, leaving a root canal open is never recommended as it can lead to reinfection and other potential dental problems. 

Are tooth extraction and filling advisable for four- to five-year-olds?

It depends on the tooth’s condition and whether there is an infection. For example, if there is an infection under the tooth that could affect the permanent tooth’s development, then a tooth extraction is advisable. 

Another reason a tooth could be extracted in a four or five-year-old is when the tooth has a cavity, and a pulpotomy or pulpectomy is impossible. Sometimes there simply is not enough healthy tooth left to save. So again, extraction would be recommended. 

On the other hand, a filling is advisable when a pulpotomy can be performed and the infection is only in the upper part of the tooth. Filling the primary teeth, or baby teeth as they are also called, helps prevent the spread of infection and other dental problems. 

Can damaged tooth pulp heal? 

In some situations, damaged tooth pulp can heal and is reversible. Once you resolve the dental problem, the pulp will heal. However, it also depends on the issue and whether the pulp is inflamed or infected. 

If the pulp is inflamed and infected from tooth decay and has been destroyed, then it will no longer heal. Additionally, pulpotomy procedures are not always effective in adults as they age, so the pulp would not heal. 

Pediatric, Adult, and Cosmetic Dentists Near Me

Absolute Dental Happy Customer

When you are looking for pediatric, adult, and cosmetic dentists near me, look no further than Absolute Dental in Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, and Carson City. We have several offices throughout Nevada and offer an extensive range of general and cosmetic dental procedures. 

Our offices also offer emergency oral surgery when you have a toothache, abscess, or other dental emergencies. 

Are you experiencing tooth pain? Make an emergency appointment with one of our dentists today. (844) 8‑SMILE‑NOW
(844) 876‑4536


Arrested Caries: What to Know About This Type of Dental Decay. (2022).

Pulpotomy vs. Pulpectomy: Which Procedure Will Heal Your Tooth. (2022).

Pulpotomy in Adults. (2022).

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