Nothing can be as inconvenient--or as worrisome--as a sensitive tooth. While most people know that this condition will require a visit to the dentist, few actually understand the range of possible causes. If you would like to improve your knowledge of dental disorders, read on. This article will introduce you to one of the primary causes of sensitive teeth--pulpitis.
What is pulpitis?
Pulpitis is a term that refers to any inflammation of the pulp that occupies the hollow core of your teeth. Pulp is made up of such things as nerve tissue, blood vessels, and live cells. Because pulp, unlike the enamel exterior of your teeth, is a living thing, it receives blood flow from your body.
Pulpitis occurs when too much blood is flowing to the pulp. This causes an increase in the pressure within the tooth. While tooth sensitivity is the primary symptom of pulpitis, it may also manifest as any of the following:
- throbbing sensation in the affected tooth
- tenderness in the jaw, chin, or neck
- swollen and/or tender lymph nodes
How is pulpitis treated?
Cases of pulpitis fall into one of two distinct categories: reversible and irreversible pulpitis. With reversible pulpitis, it is possible for the swelling to reduce and the symptoms to disappear. In other words, the tooth is capable of getting better--often all on its own. Sometimes a dentist will prescribe a densensitizing medicine and/or a special toothpaste designed to lessen any associated pain.
A diagnosis of irreversible pulpitis, however, means that the tooth will not be able to recover. The inflammation will ultimately result in the death of the pulp. If left untreated, this condition may lead to even worse conditions, such as infections and abscesses. Therefore, the most common treatment for teeth with irreversible pulpitis is the removal of the pulp through a root canal.
How can I tell which type of pulpitis I have?
To determine the type of pulpitis causing your sensitivity, your dentist will perform a series of tests meant to measure the degree of the tooth's sensitivity. These involve the application of various stimuli, such as heat, cold, and mild electrical pulses. The idea is that the two types of pulpitis will respond to such stimuli in very different ways.
In general, a tooth with reversible pulpitis will respond very sharply to stimuli. Yet this response will diminish quickly once the stimulus has been removed. In cases of irreversible pulpitis, on the other hand, the tooth will generally not respond as sharply. However, the sensation will linger on even after the stimulus is removed.
To read more, visit the website of a dentist in your area.