Pulp capping is done when a small area of the pulp of a tooth has been exposed or if caries are in very close proximity to the pulp chamber of a tooth.
There are two types of pulp capping, direct and indirect;
- Direct pulp capping is the application of a material directly over the exposed pulp.
- Indirect pulp capping is the application of a material on to dentine (which may be carious) that is in close proximity to the pulp chamber.
The material that is used is either a calcium hydroxide cement or ledermix paste or cement, which is then covered with a temporary filling. Both calcium hydroxide and ledermix are sedative dressings which is why they are the material of choice in these circumstances.
- Protects the pulp
- Reduces or prevents the risk of pain
In some cases (usually indirect method) it promotes the production of secondary dentine and allows the body to form a protective layer over the pulp chamber, thereby allowing the tooth to avoid the need for further endodontic treatment. Most of the time, however, pulp capping is just a temporary measure before a root filling or pulpectomy is done.