Month/Year of Graduation

5-2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Department

Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Riquier

Abstract

Indirect pulp caps (IPCs) and pulpotomies are forms of vital pulp therapy. These procedures are performed on young patients who have deep cavities due to bacterial biofilm damage; however, the two are performed and utilized differently. The less severe of the two procedures is an IPC. This is when decayed dentin is covered with biocompatible material to avoid pulp exposure. The more severe procedure, the pulpotomy, is when the inflamed coronal pulp tissue is removed either partially or fully to save any remaining pulp tissue. In this study, all IPCs and pulpotomies performed by Dr. Ben Reimer throughout ~4.5-years of his dental career and the patient insurance coverage for each procedure was investigated to determine if socioeconomic class impacted procedure severity and age of treatment. The less severe procedure (IPC) was performed more frequently in higher income patients over 6 years old; pulpotomies, the more severe procedure, were performed more frequently in low-income patients under the age of 6. These results indicate that higher-income patients are more likely to prevent deep cavities to a later age, and lower-income patients are more likely to develop more severe cavities at an earlier age. This points to higher-income families having more access to proper dental hygiene, hygiene products, education, and care; further, it indicates the need for more accessible dental care and products for low-income families.

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