If your child’s primary tooth has extensive decay, action may be needed to restore the integrity of the tooth and prevent infection. After X-rays are taken, Dr. Katie will be able to assess the extent of the decay and may recommend one of two options, a pulpotomy or an indirect pulp cap.


A pulpotomy may be recommended if the decay reaches the inner part of the tooth (the pulp) with the absence of signs of infection. When a cavity gets deep, the pulp can become inflamed. During a pulpotomy the inflamed tissue from the inner part of the tooth is removed in the crown portion (usually on a molar). The healthy pulpal tissue in the root structure is left in place. After a pulpotomy on a baby molar, the empty space will be filled and a stainless steel crown will be cemented to cover the tooth.


If the decay is approaching the pulp, Dr Katie may recommend an indirect pulp cap. During an indirect pulp cap a small amount of decay (cavity) is left over the pulp (inner portion) of the tooth. This area is cleaned with an antibacterial mouth rinse and a medicament is placed over the decay to help heal this area and protect the health of the tooth. Generally a stainless steel crown is cemented (on a baby tooth) to cover the tooth. If an indirect pulp cap is performed on a permanent tooth it can generally be restored with a white filling.