Pulp cap refers to a procedure aimed to protect the pulp of a tooth from infection in instances where a deep decay in the tooth is present by placing a cement base under a deep filling to provide a measure of thermal insulation and also to stimulate healing. This procedure is used as a way to avoid the further erosion of a tooth to the point where it will require root canal treatment.
There are two types of pulp cap: direct and indirect pulp cap. Indirect pulp cap is the most common of the two and is used in instances where there is a deep decay approaching the pulp but no symptoms of infections. Additionally there is no pulp exposed and therefore a cap is placed in order to protect the tooth. A direct pulp cap is also used in instances where there is a deep decay approaching the pulp but no symptoms of infections. In this case there is a small exposure of the pulp and the procedure is considered controversial. Many feel that this is a temporary measure and over a period of time the cap will be unsuccessful leading to the eventual recurrence of infection.