Smile Every Day - It Does a Body Good

Walker & Krause Dental Blog

Pulp Capping: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Pulp capping is a dental procedure that prevents the tooth pulp from being exposed during a cavity preparation, hence preventing the need for a root canal procedure.
At Walker Dental Team, Dr. Walker may recommend a pulp capping procedure for you.

There are two types of dental pulp capping procedures: indirect pulp caps and direct pulp caps.

Indirect Pulp Caps

When repairing a deep cavity that extends very close to the pulp, we cannot always remove all the decay without risking exposing the pulp. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that leaving a bit of decay near vital pulp but covering the area with a dentin bonding agent like calcium hydroxide or glass ionomer can impede the growth of bacteria and help regenerate dentin.

This incomplete removal of the decayed tooth is not harmful as long as the filling completely seals the dentin form bacterial invasion. This is why an indirect pulp capping procedure may be required on baby teeth.

Direct Pulp Caps

A direct pulp capping is done on adult teeth when the decay exposes the dental pulp. If the pulp is asymptomatic and infected, root canal treatment is the best recourse. However, if the pulp is vital, capping the pulp with calcium hydroxide and then filling it with a good material can prevent further issues from occurring.

Direct pulp capping is usually not recommended on baby teeth, except when the pulp is exposed because of mechanical trauma while removing the decay. In this case, a procedure called the pulpotomy is performed which removes part of the pulp. A direct cap is them placed on the wound and the tooth is then sealed.

Even if you are diligent about your oral care regimen, cavities can still develop. It is good to know that pulp capping procedures are available that can help keep your dental pulp vital and healthy. If you want to check the health of your teeth, schedule an appointment by calling us at (360) 339-5969 today.