Pulpitis is an inflammatory process that affects the dental pulp. The pulp is the vital part of the tooth and contains blood vessels and nerves. The main reason for pulpitis is caries. If the bacteria that is causing the caries reach to the pulp, they cause an inflammation that results with pain. Other reasons include dental trauma, chemical agents and medication, inappropriate use of dental drills and more. The symptoms of pulpitis are pain, high sensitivity to hot or cold and more. The pulpitis can be reversible and irreversible. If the pulpitis is reversible, there is a chance to save the tooth by removing the irritating factor and repairing the tooth with a filling. But if the pulpitis is irreversible it has to be treated with a root canal procedure or even extraction in some cases. If the pulpitis is not treated it can lead to periapical lesions.


The main reason is dental caries. Once caries reaches the pulp, it becomes infected with bacteria. They cause an inflammation that has to be treated as soon as possible. Other reasons include dental trauma, fractured and chipped teeth, dental drills and other dental procedures can lead to inflammation and infection. The improper use of dental drills during preparation for restoration can easily affect the pulp. Bad fillings that are much higher than what they’re supposed to because dental trauma that can end up making the pulp inflamed. Also, dental fillings that allow leakage can do the same. Once it is affected, it starts swelling like every other tissue in the body. That pressure in the chamber results in symptoms.



The initial symptom is the pain. In most cases, it is a severe pain, that is triggered by hot or cold foods and beverages. The pain can also be spontaneous. There are several types of irreversible pulpitis, so there are different types of pain. For some, it will appear during the day and in short periods of 15 minutes. For other types, it wakes the patient up from sleep and it lasts for hours. Some types are stimulated with hot drinks and food, others are with cold. Sensitivity to sweets is also another common symptom. The patient can have a hard time closing the jaws, because when the teeth touch they become even more painful. There can be general symptoms like fever, inflamed lymph nodes and more. Sometimes the patient has a hard time locating the tooth that actually hurts because the whole half of their jaw hurts. This is called referred pain.


For the reversible type, it is important to determine the cause and eliminate it. The pulp will be able to restore its functions and fight the inflammation. With the irreversible pulpitis, treatment is necessary. The treatment of choice is a root canal procedure. It involves eliminating the cause, entering the coronal chamber of the pulp, entering the root canals and cleaning them. Once they are clean and re-shaped, the dentist uses materials to seal them, and a filling to restore the crown.

root canal infection and treatment