When primary teeth have deep caries, there is a high chance of the pulp (nerve) inside the tooth being affected. The tooth can develop infection which will likely require an extraction. To avoid this, a procedure called pulpotomy is sometimes indicated. A pulpotomy of a baby tooth is similar to, but not as complex as root canal treatment of an adult tooth. Both procedures prevent unnecessary loss of teeth. Your child’s baby teeth are important in guiding the permanent teeth into position and should therefore remain in your child’s mouth until they are lost naturally.
In this procedure, the top part of the nerve (the part in the pulp chamber) is removed and the remainder of the nerve in the root canals is treated with a cotton pellet soaked in a medical fixative intended to fix, or “tan” (as leather is tanned) the living nerve that remains in the root canals. The cotton pallet then is removed within 5 minutes and a temporary filling material is placed into the pulp chamber. This treatment turns most of the remainder of the nerve into “leather” and it becomes inert and is unlikely to hurt or cause a future abscess.Once pulpotomy is completed, the tooth is best restored with a stainless steel crown.
The reported success rate of this procedure is between 80-90% .