Pulp, the innermost portion of a tooth, is made up of blood vessels and nerves. Sometimes during the process of removing deep decay, the pulp is exposed, and without treatment it can become infected with bacteria and die. In these situations, dentists may opt to do a pulpotomy. By removing the pulp tissue from the crown of the tooth and filling it with medicated material, the pulp in the roots of the tooth remains healthy. This is considered vital pulp therapy and is only done when there is no swelling or abscess.
Pulpotomies are typically performed on baby teeth. However, Case Reports in Dentistry published a study that concludes pulpotomies can be successful on fully formed, permanent teeth, as well.