Pulpitis is a condition defined by sore inflammation of the pulp in the tooth. It is important to note that the innermost region of the tooth is the pulp. This contains the blood supply and nerves for the tooth. The condition can occur in one or several teeth and usually due to bacteria that invades the pulp which results to swelling.
What are the types?
- Reversible – involves mild inflammation and the pulp remains in a healthy state where it can be saved
- Irreversible – this occurs if inflammation and other signs such as pain are intense, and the pulp could not be saved
What are the indications?
Both forms of pulpitis can trigger pain. For the reversible form, it is generally mild and only occurs while eating. As for the irreversible form, it is severe and arises throughout the day and night.
Other signs in both forms include:
- Sensitivity to sweet food
- Sensitivity to cold and hot food
The irreversible form might have other signs of infection such as:
- Bad breath
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Bad taste in the mouth
What are the causes?
Pulpitis develops once the enamel and dentin are damaged which allows bacteria to reach the pulp, thus resulting to swelling. Since the pulp is trapped within the walls of the tooth, the swelling triggers pain and pressure as well as infection.
Management of pulpitis
The treatment is based on the type of pulpitis. For the reversible form, dealing with the cause of the inflammation will allow the symptoms to subside. If there is a cavity, getting rid of the decayed site and restoring it with filling should lessen the pain.
For the irreversible form, the tooth can be saved with pulpectomy which is the first part of a root canal. During the procedure, the pulp is removed but the rest of the tooth is left intact. The hollow space within the tooth is cleaned, filled and sealed.
In some cases, the whole tooth is removed via a tooth extraction. This is a suggested option if the tooth has died and could not be saved.