My daughter has an infection on a baby molar. My dentist wants to do a pulpotomy on it. What I don’t understand is why we just don’t pull the molar. It’s not her permanent one. When I asked her dentist, he just said, “Because as her dentist I’m telling you this is the best option.” What I wanted to say was, “Well, as her parent I want to know why.” but I was too chicken. I’ve scheduled the appointment but I really want to know why before I follow through with this.
The answer to this really depends on the age of your daughter. Her baby molars need to stay in place until she is around twelve years old when her permanent molars come in. When they’re significantly younger than this, one option is to do a pulpotomy. This is essentially a child’s version of a root canal treatment. It will help her retain a necessary tooth.
Another option is to extract the infected molar, however, you will need to place a space maintainer where the tooth once was. This is a more invasive treatment, but sometimes becomes necessary when the tooth cannot be saved.
If you don’t do either of those, the infection will spread. Tooth infections are considered dental emergencies and need to be taken seriously. The jaw is close to the heart, brain, and lungs. You don’t want the infection to reach any of those areas.
If you extract the tooth without a space maintainer then her other teeth will shift into the open space. When her permanent molars start to come in, it will lead to crowding of her teeth. Then, you’re talking about needing orthodontics which could have been prevented. Keeping this space secured is much less expensive.
A Word about Your Pediatric Dentist’s Response
I’m not happy with your his response to your question. You are the parent and he is ethically obligated to give you all the options available in treatment. In doing that, it means also explaining the pros and cons to each option, along with his explanation for his recommendation.
His arrogance in being questioned makes me wonder whether he’s giving you any of your other options. This isn’t the best care for your child. While you need to get your daughter’s infection dealt with. I think you should start looking for a new dentist for her. If you live in a small town which doesn’t have many pediatric dentists, you can also see a general dentist who is good with children.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. John Weaver.