Root canals in primary teeth are commonly referred to as a pulpectomy. This procedure is usually performed under local anesthetic or novocaine while the tooth is numb. It involves the removal of the nerve in the root portion of the tooth. The root canal is then left empty, and is cleaned, disinfected, and filled with a substance that should not interfere with the development of a permanent tooth growing underneath the baby tooth. Another common procedure performed in baby teeth involving the pulp or nerve tissue of the tooth is referred to as a pulpotomy.
A pulpotomy involves removing the infected coronal portion of the nerve and vasculature of a baby tooth. The coronal portion of the tooth is the part of the tooth you can see above the gumline. The hollow cavity is disinfected, and a medicament is placed inside the tooth.
A crown can then be placed on the tooth to help add strength to the tooth structure. Root canals in young permanent teeth can also be performed. We evaluate the health of the tooth and the stage of development of root formation to determine when and how to perform this procedure in young permanent teeth.