What is dental pulp?

If you have read our article about sensitive teeth, you are undoubtedly familiar with your tooth’ protective layers, enamel and dentin. Enamel is the outermost layer, and dentin is the middle layer, but what are they exactly protecting?! The centre layer of the tooth, the pulp. Tooth pulp or dental pulp is the innermost and vital part of your tooth, which is soft, has a jelly-like consistency, and is located beneath one of the protective layers of the tooth called dentin. The dental pulp contains nerves, blood vessels, and living connective tissue and provides blood and nutrients for the tooth. Tooth enamel and dentin layers are in charge of protecting the dental pulp from being exposed and infected. However, despite all the pulp’s protection from enamel and dentin, it can still get sick. Some factors can cause damage to the pulp tissue and lead to severe pain and inflammation.

Let’s see what gives rise to this dental condition and what happens when the pulp becomes inflamed and infected. This condition requires an appointment with a local emergency dentist in Brisbane near you.

What is Pulpitis?

Pulpitis is Pulpal inflammation

Simply put, Pulpitis occurs as a result of the inflammation of the pulp. But the question is, why would the pulp become inflamed in the first place?

Tooth decay

Your oral cavity is home to many bacteria; don’t worry, some of them are friendly! Both harmless and harmful bacteria live in your mouth. There is an increased risk of tooth decaygum diseasebad breath, and many other oral health issues if the harmful bacteria outnumber the harmful ones. How does the number of bad bacteria go up? Eating lots of sweet foods and drinks and starchy foods and not practising good oral hygiene are among the factors that will eventually lead to tooth decay, dental caries, and finally, Pulpitis. The bacteria in your mouth produce acid from the sugar in sweet foods and attack your tooth enamel, causing damage to the tooth surface (enamel dissolution) and resulting in tooth decay. If dental caries passes the tooth’s protective layers and progress to the pulp, it will cause pulpal inflammation, otherwise known as Pulpitis, which can cause intense tooth painThe tooth’s protective layers won’t let bacteria enter the pulp and protect the dental pulp from infection in a healthy tooth. However, tooth decay and dental caries cause damage to these layers; when bacteria invade the pulp, the dental pulp remains trapped inside the tooth’s walls and lead to painful inflammation of the pulp.

Pulpitis may affect one or more teeth.

Common symptoms of dental decay include:

  • Toothache and tooth sensitivity
  • Painful biting and chewing
  • Noticeable holes in your tooth

Other causes of Pulpitis:

Many factors may cause inflammation of the pulp and put your oral health at risk; to name a few:

  • bacterial infection 
  • an impaired immune system; some diseases such as diabetes or autoimmune deficiencies can weaken your immune system
  • foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates (they give rise to plaque buildup)
  • overusing desensitizing paste
  • high-contact sport(increased risk of tooth injury or tooth trauma)
  • drilling on the tooth during dental procedures and preparing tooth restorations (like dental fillings or dental crowns)
  • jaw misalignment (cause damage to tooth enamel)

Habits like teeth grinding or nail-biting increase the risk of tooth trauma.

tooth infection is more serious, your dentist

Types of Pulpitis

Pulpitis is of two types: reversible and irreversible. Both types of Pulpitis will put your oral health at risk, and they both need treatment.

Reversible pulpitis

“There is hope to save the dental pulp if pulpitis is reversible.”

Reversible Pulpitis refers to a mild form of Pulpitis (mild inflammation of the pulp) where the pulp is not too damaged to be saved. Reversible Pulpitis is characterized by limited inflammation, pain, and sensitivity to sweet stimulus and cold food. In this dental condition, the pain caused by the stimulant will usually go away when the irritant is removed. With reversible Pulpitis, when the dentist eliminates the underlying cause of the problem and treatment is completed, tooth pain ceases, and sensitivity, discomfort, and inflammation will typically disappear. That means the bacterial infection is not too deep, so it has not affected the pulp yet.

Irreversible Pulpitis

Irreversible Pulpitis occurs as a result of ignored and untreated reversible Pulpitis. Clinical findings suggest that the pulp is too damaged to be repaired with irreversible Pulpitis, and the pulpal inflammation has caused the pulp tissue to die. Irreversible Pulpitis is characterized by lingering pain and sensitivity to hot stimuli that will not go away even after the stimulant is removed. Spontaneous pain can also be a sign of irreversible Pulpitis.

Irreversible Pulpitis may occur due to:

  • tooth injury
  • tooth trauma
  • tooth decay that is too close to the pulp
  • deep cavities
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Reversible and irreversible Pulpitis symptoms

Generally, dental pain, tingling sensation, swelling and inflammation, and sensitivity while having hot or cold foods may indicate Pulpitis, either reversible or irreversible.

Reversible pulpitis symptoms

If you have the following symptoms, chances are you have reversible Pulpitis and are in need of dental care.

  • cold food sensitivity (not long-lasting)
  • sharp pain
  • pain and tooth sensitivity to sweet stimuli

Irreversible pulpitis symptoms

The following symptoms may be warning signs of irreversible Pulpitis.

  • sharp pain
  • lingering, severe pain
  • spontaneous pain
  • intense pain
  • bad breath
  • fever
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • dental pain when the tooth is tapped
  • sensitivity to heat
  • cold food sensitivity that may linger

You can give us a call on 0733434869 to book an appointment with one of our dentists in Brisbane and receive dental care if you think you have pulpitis symptoms.

How do you test for Pulpitis?

“Dental pulp vitality tests”

Diagnosis of Pulpitis is made through pulp sensibility tests, the patient’s dental history, dental examinations, and radiographs. An electric pulp tester may also be used; the electric pulp tester will send an electric pulse to the teeth to test the pulp vitality. A sensitivity test may also be performed that involves your dentist tapping on your teeth to measure the amount of sensitivity.

How is asymptomatic irreversible Pulpitis diagnosed?

Asymptomatic irreversible Pulpitis (the person doesn’t have pain) is detected by sensibility tests using CO2, electric pulp testing device (EPT) and sometimes by a dental  X-ray if the tooth is necrotic and there is an infection at the root of the tooth.

How do you treat Pulpitis?

Pulpitis treatment

Treatment options for Pulpitis depend on the severity of pulpal inflammation and the underlying reason.

 Reversible pulpitis treatment

Reversible Pulpitis is treated by removing the underlying cause, such as dental caries, restoring the damaged tooth, or fixing the fractured enamel.

 Irreversible pulpitis treatment

In case of severe damage to the pulp, root canal therapy may be needed. During root canal treatment, the damaged pulp and its roots will be removed, and a temporary crown will be used for some time before your dentist uses a permanent crown. Sometimes, a root canal cannot solve the problem, and the only practical option will be tooth extraction.

Is Pulpitis a dental emergency?

Pulpitis can be considered a dental emergency because of the intense pain it can cause for the person. See Emergency Toothache Treatment Brisbane.

Can Pulpitis go away on its own?

No. Pulpitis will not go away on its own, and it can’t heal without treatment. Untreated pulpits can cause more severe health issues for you.

What is pulp necrosis? "the last stage of chronic pulpitis"

Pulp necrosis refers to the death of the soft pulp inside of a tooth.

Make sure you arrange regular dental checkups and clean so your Brisbane dental expert can spot any dental problem at its early stage. Give us a call on 0733434869 if you have any pulpitis signs.