What is the difference between pulpectomy and root canal treatment, and can a pulpectomy be performed without root canal treatment?

Doctor's Answers (1)

Dr Jaclyn Toh

"Dentist with an interest in comprehensive dentistry."

A pulpectomy is the complete removal of all pulp tissue from the root canals. This is the first stage of root canal treatment.

Root canal treatment normally has 3 stages. These can be performed in the same visit or over multiple visits.

1) Pulpectomy: usually done as part of emergency pain relief. A tooth may be too inflamed to numb completely and a medicated dressing is placed in the canals, if the next stage is not to be done in the same appointment.

2) Cleaning and shaping with files and irrigants to disinfect the root canal system.

3) Obturation: the root canal and cavity are filled.

A pulpectomy alone MAY be successful in a case where there is no bacteria within the root canal system. However, long term success for infected root canals can only be seen with complete root canal treatment.

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