Author(s): Ward J
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Abstract Vital pulp therapy for cariously exposed permanent teeth remains one of the most controversial areas in dentistry. Because a vital, functioning pulp is capable of initiating several defence mechanisms to protect the body from bacterial invasion, it is beneficial to preserve the vitality and health of an exposed pulp rather than replace it with a root filling material following pulp exposure. There is no consensus on the survival rate of formerly cariously exposed pulps. Observation time, judgement criteria, pulpotomy/pulp capping technique and, most importantly, pulpal status at the time of treatment, vary to a great extent amongst studies. In mature teeth, a pulp exposed by caries is usually removed and the root canals are cleaned, shaped and filled. Amongst the methods for preservation of a cariously exposed pulp, partial pulpotomy has yielded a markedly high success rate in young teeth. Major limitations in the success of vital pulp therapy in cariously exposed permanent teeth exist. The lack of predictability and long-term success greatly influence decision-making. The decision-making itself is unreliable primarily due to the difficulty of accurately diagnosing the ability of the pulp to repair. While there are indications for vital pulp therapy in young permanent molars, it must be remembered that ultimately, none of these procedures enjoy the long-term success of complete root canal therapy.
This article was published in Aust Endod J
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research