A response from a dentist:
What your dentist did seems justified. On a baby tooth, it is actually called a pulpotomy or pulpectomy, and is alot less complicated than an adult root canal. Antibiotic
will provide temporary relief while you take them. However, the real source of the infection is the dying nerve. Either from the decay infecting the nerve, or the filling touching the nerve. If the nerve and it's remnants are not removed, the tooth will start or continue to abscess. Antibiotics
should also be used sparingly, as your body can build an immunity if they are over-used due to bacterial mutuation. As for removing the tooth, that is an option. However, if that tooth is removed at age 5, the permanent tooth will not erupt until age 10 - 12. In that time frame, the teeth will probably shift forward by the eruption of the permanent molars, and when the premolar underneath is ready to erupt, there would be no room. That is why we fill baby teeth. As for the crown, when the pulp (nerve) is removed, the tooth becomes weak is suseptable to fracture. The crown provides the tooth extra strength. As for ripping you off, I can not answer that. Where I'm from, the cost would be $65.00 for the pulpotomy, and $120.00 for the crown. Compared to braces at about $4500.00, it is a bargain.