What is the Pulp?
The pulp is the soft matter that exists in the center of our teeth, it contains connective tissue and cells that are responsible for the health of the tooth and repair of injury to it. Among the connective tissue cells, there are special cells called odontoblasts that form the dentin around the pulp and are also responsible for providing nutrients and sensation of heat, cold, pressure and pain to our teeth.
What is Pulp Capping?
The survival of the pulp is important for the health and function of teeth, and it should be maintained and protected as best as possible. If a tooth has broken down or the pulp has been exposed by decay, it is important to protect the pulp from bacterial invasion and mechanical forces. Failure to protect the pulp will result in its death, and lead to a need to perform a root canal treatment or the removal of the tooth.
Given the right conditions the an inflamed pulp can repair itself and the surrounding dentin. To allow the recovery Dr. Kaufman will clean all the bacteria and decay. To protect the healing pulp a bandage is placed over the pulp and then the tooth shape is restored with a composite restoration. This method, called Pulp Capping, protects the pulp and possibly can help in avoiding the need for a root canal treatment.
The extent of damage to the pulp and bacterial penetration will determine if a more conservative approach called “indirect capping” will be used or a more extensive approach called “direct capping” is used. In the indirect pulp capping, a thin layer of dentin is present over the pulp tissue, which provides a barrier between the pulp and the restoration, while in the direct capping, the layer of protective material is placed directly on the exposed pulp. In both cases the final seal and tooth restorations are made of resin to provide good thermal isolation.