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Pulpitis is the common cause of tooth pain and even tooth loss, significantly affecting your everyday life. Therefore, it's best to visit your dentist for early diagnosis and treatment of pulpitis to prevent worsening it.

In a normal healthy tooth, the pulp is the connective tissue that contains many blood vessels and nerves and is surrounded by the tooth enamel and dentin. The invasion of bacteria into the pulp can make it swollen or result in pain and inflammation in one or more teeth. This condition is known as pulpitis.

Two of the most common forms of pulpitis are reversible and irreversible pulpitis. Reversible pulpitis refers to when the inflammation is mild and the pulp can still be saved. Irreversible pulpitis is when the inflammation and pain are severe and the pulp cannot be saved.

Symptom of pulpitis

Both forms of pulpitis result in pain but the pain from reversible pulpitis can be milder and only occur during eating. The pain caused by irreversible pulpitis is typically more severe and can occur throughout the day and even at night.

Other symptoms of pulpitis include:

  • Tooth inflammation
  • Sensitivity to sweet foods
  • Sensitivity to too hot or too cold foods

Irreversible pulpitis can also cause additional infection symptoms such as:

Causes of pulpitis

The enamel and dentin of a normal and totally healthy tooth will protect the pulp from infection. Pulpitis occurs when these protective layers are damaged, allowing bacteria to invade the tooth and cause swollen pulp.

The tooth enamel and dentin can be damaged due to the following reasons:

  • Tooth decay
  • Broken teeth that reveal the pulp
  • Forces that injure the tooth
  • Repeated damage that results in crossbite; teeth grinding habit

Children and older people are at a higher risk of pulpitis. However, this depends mostly on the individual’s oral hygiene. Several factors can increase your chances of pulpitis, such as poor oral hygiene or certain health conditions like diabetes.

Habits that increase your odds of getting pulpitis to include:

  • Oral hygiene practices: no brushing after eating and not seeing your dentist regularly
  • Diet: consuming too many sugary foods and drinks 
  • Strenuous activities: certain jobs and hobbies, such as boxing and martial arts, can affect oral health 
  • Teeth grinding during sleep: frequent teeth grinding may cause chipped tooth, pain with chewing, and misalignment

How is pulpitis diagnosed?

Your dentist will perform X-rays to determine the severity of tooth decay and tooth inflammation. You may be asked to take several tests to evaluate your sensitivity to foods that are hotter, colder, and sweeter than normal. The extent of your response will help your dentist determine if it’s partial or complete pulp damage.

Your dentist will also use a tool to gently tap on the tooth in question to determine the extent of pain and inflammation. In some cases, you may be given an electric pulp test to analyze the level of damage. If you are still able to feel the electric charge, the pulp damage is likely reversible. 

Treatment for pulpitis

Treatment options for pulpitis vary, depending on whether the damage is reversible or not.

  • For reversible pulpitis: Treating the causes will help. For example, if you have tooth decay, after taking care of the decayed part and sealing the tooth closed, the pain will subside.
  • For irreversible pulpitis: Your dentist can perform root canal treatment to remove the damaged tooth pulp, leaving the rest of the tooth intact. After the procedure, the empty space inside the tooth will be cleaned and filled with filling materials.

In serious cases, tooth extraction is required. However, this procedure is only performed when your tooth is dead and cannot be saved.

After root canal treatment or tooth extraction, visit your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme pain
  • Swelling inside and outside of the mouth
  • A feeling of pressure inside the tooth
  • Recurrence of initial pulpitis symptoms

You can relieve the pain before and after the treatment with pain medication and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
If you are to receive a root canal or tooth extraction, your dentist will prescribe some pain killers with stronger effects.

How to prevent pulpitis

Most of the time, pulpitis is caused by tooth decay. This is why preventing pulpitis means preventing tooth decay. Proper oral hygiene practices are of great importance to keep your teeth healthy and free of decay. Always do the following:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, paying special attention to the gums
  • Use dental floss at least once a day
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Have a diet with enough calcium and vitamins
  • Avoid surgery or starchy foods
  • Have dental checkups twice a year

If you are experiencing pain and discomfort from pulpitis, don’t worry too much. Visit a reliable dental clinic for early diagnosis and treatment.

As the root canal is a complex system, pulpitis needs to be treated by a specialist. With a team of highly-skilled, experienced, and devoted dentists, The East Rose Dental Clinic (Old Rose Dental Clinic) will help you get your healthy teeth back at the most reasonable prices within the shortest time.

Moreover, The East Rose Dental Clinic (Old Rose Dental Clinic) has modern equipment and rigorous procedures. This enables you to experience a quick, comfortable, and convenient dental procedure that is totally risk-free.

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