When the cavity grows to an extent that it reaches the nerve or pulp tissue of a primary or permanent tooth, or if such nerve is infected, immediate treatment is necessary in order to avoid further complications such as a dental abscess and loss of the tooth. Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early.
Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs a pulpotomy/ pulpectomy, also. Once this occurs the pulp becomes infected and by the time the pulp is infected it must be treated, and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth.
The two methods of treating infected dental nerve tissue are the pulpotomy/ pulpectomy. The ultimate objective of these procedures is to allow the tooth to be preserved until it is ready to fall out naturally and maintain integrity and function of the dental arch.
The only alternative to a pulpotomy/pulpectomy is extraction, and placement of a space maintainer. However, if it is possible to save the baby tooth, this is the best alternative because it preserves the appropriate spacing for the adult dentition.
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