Dental Problems

Pulpitis – Diagnosis and Treatment of Pulpitis

Pulpitis of teeth is a pathological condition of the tooth where there is an inflammation of the dental pulp within the tooth. The figure below illustrates the teeth with pulpitis. In this article, we shall know the classification, causes, diagnosis and treatment of pulpitis. Dental pulp is the part of a tooth that contains the blood vessels, the nerves and the connective tissue of the tooth. It is inside of the tooth where it is nourished. It provides the tooth nutrients and blood that it requires.


Classification of Pulpitis

Based on the course of disease, pulpitis is classified as acute or chronic. Acute pulpitis itself takes 2 forms: Purulent acute pulpitis and gangrenous acute pulpitis. Pulpitis is further classified as reversible and irreversible. If the pulp is inflamed due to irritation or exposure during cavity preparation, then it is generally reversible. Whether the pulpitis reversible or not really depends on the trauma the tooth has suffered. A dentist would be the best person who can diagnose whether the pulpitis is reversible or not.

Causes of Pulpitis

Pulpitis is mostly caused by tooth decay. Another cause of pulpitis is injury or trauma to the pulp.

Pulpitis occurs when:

  • Caries decay progressively or deeply into the dentin
  • A damaged tooth that may require multiple invasive procedures
  • Trauma to the pulp that may disrupt the lymphatic and blood supply to the pulp

Signs and Symptoms of Pulpitis

  • The first symptom of pulpitis is increased sensitivity to stimuli, either hot or cold.
  • A prolong throbbing pain in the tooth may be caused due to pulpitis. In some cases, there may not be any pain at all.

If stimulus is given to irreversible pulpitis, the pain may occur spontaneously and fades away after the stimulus is removed.


It is seen that individual with pulpitis find it difficult in locating the source of pain, confusing it with neighboring tissues of the teeth. The pulp cavity is challenge for body’s immune system, which makes elimination of bacterial infection a big issue.

Diagnosis of Pulpitis of teeth

Mouth Examination:

The doctor first sees mouth for its complete mouth examination. He also takes medical history and does a complete physical examination of the patient. He further makes the clinical evaluation by use of provoking stimuli that is by application of heat, cold and percussion.

Dental X-rays sometimes help in determining the extent of the inflammation. It shows clearly if the inflammation is extended beyond the tooth apex. It also helps in differential diagnosis of other conditions of teeth.


Antibiotic drugs like amoxicillin are given to reduce the intensity of infection.
If it is reversible pulpitis, the pulp can be maintained by removing the caries. The tooth is then restored. If it is irreversible pulpitis then, the teeth require endodontic therapy or total tooth extraction. This is a surgical process where an opening is made in the tooth and the pulp is removed by the surgeon.

The root canal system is debrided, shaped and filled thoroughly. After that it is left to heal. The doctor checks for resolution of symptoms. In these cases, the bone filling is done by examining the tooth radiographically.

Above mentioned is an exhaustive list of types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of pulpitis of teeth. So, the next time you face any teeth related issues, it should be easier for you to understand the condition. Remember!! Healthy teeth always contribute to a healthy smile.

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