Inside each tooth lies a soft center called the dental pulp. Because of the soft nature of this substance, a crack or break in the outer layer of tooth’s enamel can cause inflammation and infection, otherwise known as pulpitis. Depending on the injury or disease causing the pulpitis, your mouth, neck or face can swell or turn red. As with any inflammation or infection, pain is the most common symptom of pulpitis.
Two different types of pulpitis exist:
- Reversible pulpitis. With reversible pulpitis, you experience limited inflammation and the very real chance of restoration of the tooth.
- Irreversible pulpitis. If the blood flow and circulation to the tooth have been compromised, the dental pulp can die. The ensuing infection turns into irreversible pulpitis.
What Causes Pulpitis?
As with most conditions, several different factors may be at play here. The formation of pulpitis can be brought on by:
- Multiple procedures or restorations of a tooth
- Prolonged consumption of exceptionally sweet or sour foods that more easily penetrate to the dental pulp of a weakened tooth
- Certain older amalgam restorations that have failed
- Sometimes after a gold filling procedure
- Compromised lymph or blood supply of the pulp, usually due to trauma
- Tooth decay or cavities that result from bacterial infections traveling deep into your tooth
Untreated, pulpitis leads to abscesses, infections in your gums and in the root of your tooth, as well as the possibility of infection spreading to your skin and jaw bone. Infections left to fester can ultimately spread throughout your body, causing serious illnesses, such as sepsis.
The Symptoms of Pulpitis
Initially, many cases of mild pulpitis cause the tooth to feel elevated in your bite due to the inflammation pressing the tooth away from your gums. Symptoms of reversible pulpitis vs. irreversible pulpitis differ. You feel pain from an inflamed pulp with reversible pulpitis, especially in the presence of extreme hot or cold temperatures. The pain can be stabbing, sharp and quick.
With irreversible pulpitis, you experience pain and pressure even in the absence of extreme temperatures. Mild changes or subtle movements often cause pain in your tooth, and it tends to linger and throb. You feel it in a wider area, especially as the infection spreads. The pain may be worse at night when you’re in a prone position.
Effective Pulpitis Treatment
A SoHo dentist like Dr. John Koutsoyiannis of Sohosmile employs different treatments, depending on which condition you’re suffering from. After performing an exam and taking your medical history, the dentist may use x-rays or an electric pulp tester to check if your dental pulp still responds to stimulation. Your pulpitis treatment depends on the results of this testing and an accurate diagnosis:
- If your diagnosis is reversible pulpitis, Dr. John drills a small hole to access the tooth and cleans out the decay, infection and inflammation. After ensuring the infection is gone, he fills the cavity with a composite filling. Often, you must take medication for the pain and inflammation.
- If you have irreversible pulpitis, your SoHo dentist must perform a root canal procedure to save the rest of the tooth. Making an opening in the top of your tooth, he uses special tools to remove the infection, inflammation and dental pulp. After cleaning and shaping the canal, he fills it in and sometimes caps it with a crown. Pain medication provides any necessary additional treatment.
If your dentist can’t save your tooth, he has to extract it because it will only cause future problems. Of course, once you have a tooth missing, you have replacement options, such as an implant, a bridge or a partial denture.
Prevention, the Best Course of Action
The pressure and pain of pulpitis disrupts your everyday life. Your best treatment is to avoid the condition by limiting sugary drinks, using proper dental hygiene and maintaining your dental exams twice a year. To help you stay healthy, choose the best NYC dentist like Dr. John who recognizes the symptoms and has a ready and reliable pulpitis treatment. Visit SoHo dental clinic to learn more.