|With Adult Tooth Restoration: $150-$700+ per Tooth||With Child Tooth Restoration: $500-$1,300+ per Tooth|
Dental pulp refers to the living connective tissue and cells in the center chamber of a tooth; a pulpotomy is the removal of infected pulp near the top of the tooth, to treat or prevent an abscess. Although a pulpotomy is sometimes called a "baby root canal" when the procedure is performed on a young child, it is not an actual root canal; only the upper part of the pulp is removed, and generally the roots are not touched.
What should be included:
- It typically costs $80-$300 or more for just a pulpotomy procedure on a young child's primary (baby) molar; total costs can be $750-$3,400 or more per tooth with sedation and filling or a crown. A pulpotomy on a baby molar is typically done to relieve pain and discomfort while keeping the healthy root in place, thus avoiding the loss of a baby tooth years before the permanent tooth will come in.
- A pulpotomy on an adult tooth typically costs about $90-$250 for just the procedure; total costs can be $750-$3,900 or more, with the exam, x-rays and crown or filling.
- Dental insurance might cover some or all of the costs of a pulpotomy and tooth restoration, depending on the terms of the policy. However, many dental plans only pay a maximum of $1,000-$1,500 per year for all covered dental procedures.
- Typically the dentist will take x-rays to review the tooth's position and anatomy, and to make sure the root is not infected. During the pulpotomy, the area will be numbed with a shot; a drill and hand instruments will be used to remove decay from the tooth and open up the pulp chamber; the damaged pulp will be removed; medication will be placed over the root and any remaining parts of the pulp; and a filling will be installed.
- If a crown is needed, the filling will be temporary, and the crown will be installed at another appointment. In addition to the shot of local anesthetic, sedation may be used to calm a young child or a fearful adult.
- At SimpleStepsDental.com, Aetna offers a pulpotomy overview .
- On a baby tooth, the alternative to a pulpotomy is extracting the tooth ($75-$650) and installing a spacer ($200-$400) to maintain room between teeth until the permanent teeth come in. (Without a spacer, the remaining teeth will shift into the gap and cause problems when the permanent tooth erupts.) Dental insurance may cover all the costs of extraction and a spacer, up to the maximum annual amount on the policy.
- Child pulpotomies have a relatively high success rate, but if the procedure fails to prevent an abscess, the tooth will need to be extracted and a spacer installed. According to Rebecca Lee DDS in Northridge, CA, about 90% of child pulpotomies are successful.
Shopping for a pulpotomy:
- The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research lists tips for finding low-cost dental care .
- Dental school clinics may offer reduced rates for services by supervised students or faculty.
- If the patient has dental insurance, the insurance company will provide a list of approved dentists and oral surgeons.
- Not all dentists perform child pulpotomies; it might be necessary to see a pediatric dentist. Search for local members of the American Dental Association or the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists .
- Parents magazine lists tips to help kids overcome fear of dentists .
- Colgate explains how to choose a dentist .
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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