Pulpitis (inflammation of a tooth root)

Mouth | Odontologie | Pulpitis (inflammation of a tooth root) (Disease)


Pulpitis is medical symptom in which the dental pulp becomes inflamed. Symptoms: Increased sensitivity to stimuli, specifically hot and cold, is a common symptom of pulpitis. A prolonged throbbing pain may be associated with the disease. However, pulpitis can also occur without any pain at all.

Causes and Risk factors

Pulpitis may be caused by a dental caries that penetrate through the enamel and dentin to reach the pulp, or it may be a result of trauma, such as thermal insult from repeated dental procedures. Inflammation is commonly associated with a bacterial infection however can also be due to other insults such as repetitive trauma or in rare cases periodontitis.

In the case of penetrating decay, the pulp chamber is no longer sealed off from the environment of the oral cavity. When the pulp becomes inflamed, pressure begins to build up in the pulp cavity, exerting pressure on the nerve of the tooth and the surrounding tissues. Pressure from inflammation can cause mild to extreme pain, depending upon the severity of the inflammation and the bodys response.

Unlike other parts of the body where pressure can dissipate through the surrounding soft tissues, the pulp cavity is very different. It is surrounded by dentin, a hard tissue that does not allow for pressure dissipation, so increased blood flow, a hallmark of inflammation, will cause pain.

Pulpitis can often create so much pressure on the tooth nerve that the individual will have trouble locating the source of the pain, confusing it with neighboring teeth, called referred pain. The pulp cavity inherently provides the body with an immune system response challenge, which makes it very difficult for a bacterial infection to be eliminated.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment depends on the extent of the infection. Some cases will resolve on their own, others require a root canal.