Pulpitis: Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Treatment

Faced with certain stimuli such as intense cold or heat, it is normal for the teeth to hurt a little. However, the pain should go away when the stimulation stops. Doesn’t the pain go away? So it’s probably pulpitis. Below we will talk about its types, symptoms, causes and treatment.

What is Pulpitis?

Pulpitis is nothing but inflammation of the dental pulp, of one or more teeth, resulting from caries, trauma or other causes. But what is dental pulp? It is a loose connective tissue surrounded by a hard substance called dentin.

The dental pulp is responsible for the generation of various substances for the correct maintenance of the teeth. However, this tissue is characterized by having an inflammatory response to any type of injury, thus generating pulpitis.

This pathology is the second most frequent cause of dental emergencies, with a 40% incidence. Furthermore, it has various modes of presentation, which depend on its evolution over time.


In this case, the inflammatory condition ranges from mild to moderate. That is, the affected tooth will produce pain in the face of various stimuli. However, when it ceased, the pulp will be able to return to its original state.

However, despite being the initial stage of the disease, the pain can become unbearable due to the large innervation and vascularization of the pulp. But, as the name implies, this state is reversible and it will be enough to attack the cause of the problem to find a solution.


When we talk about irreversible pulpitis we are referring to a more advanced stage of the disease. In this sense, the inflammation inside the cavity has already impaired the blood circulation of the pulp, which will generate necrosis and death of the same.

Importantly, when the dental pulp reaches this point, it is impossible to recover it. So your treatment is a little more invasive and extensive.

Dental caries.
Caries is one of the leading causes of pulpitis.


Hyperplastic pulpitis is the most unusual form of all and, in turn, the one that takes the longest to present. This is one chronic inflammation of the pulp resulting from carious exposure longtime

This type of inflammation is characterized by the proliferation of granulomatous tissue inside the cavity. In this sense, cells that are not characteristic of the teeth may appear, such as the non-keratinized flat stratified tissue that makes up the gums.

symptoms of pulpitis

The main symptom that characterizes this pathology is dental pain when faced with certain stimuli.. It is important to note that the pain is often poorly localized and not limited to the affected tooth. Thus, patients can refer you to a totally healthy area.

However, this can vary greatly depending on the type of pulpitis you are experiencing. Therefore, when we are faced with a reversible form, the pain will become apparent earlier than a stimulus determined as hot or cold. Then, it will disappear after a few seconds.

Instead, in the presence of irreversible pulpitis, the pain will remain for a few minutes, even after the stimulus has ceased. Furthermore, on certain occasions, Patients may report spontaneous pain, i.e. pain that appears without any apparent cause.

After some time with irreversible pulpitis, the dental pulp will be necrotic. This will cause the tooth to lose sensitivity to stimuli. Thus, discomfort will appear before pressing and when chewing.

Finally, hyperplastic pulpitis is asymptomatic due to its chronic condition. In it, the affected fabric has already been covered with a new one, which gives it some protection. Despite this, people who suffer from it may experience some discomfort when chewing.

Causes of pulpitis

In general terms, the main cause of pulpitis is dental caries, as these manage to penetrate the dentin and can affect the pulp. Furthermore, it can also be caused by trauma, erosion, periodontitis and even poorly performed dental procedures.

However, due to some small variations, it is more convenient to study them separately, according to each type. In this sense, the most frequent causes of reversible pulpitis are the following:

  • Dental caries They do not affect the nerve.
  • erosion on the teeth reaching the dentin.
  • Dentin exposed after a tooth fracture.
  • Bacterial infections affecting the pulp.
  • Severe cases of bruxism.

On the other hand, the causes of pulpitis irreversible they are a little more specific and severe. Among them we can find the following:

  • Very advanced dental caries affecting the dental pulp.
  • orthodontic treatmentsonly when they are performed with excessive force and decrease blood flow.
  • When more tissue is removed than expected during a deep filling and the pulp is left uncovered.

Finally, hyperplastic pulpitis has only one probable cause. It appears in teeth with severe caries where the dental pulp has been exposed for a long time.

Treatments for pulpitis.
Pulpitis is treated with drugs and dental procedures if a cavity or trauma has to be resolved.

pulpitis treatment

It doesn’t matter what kind of pulpitis a person has, Initial treatment will consist of the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. This is for the purpose of reduce inflammation and fight infection, if any.

Once the pharmacological treatment is finished, the pathology itself will be treated. In the case of reversible pulpitis, it must be taken into account that these are largely caused by caries. Therefore, the treatment will be based on its removal, either with a dental filling or with a root canal.

On the other hand, when it comes to irreversible or hyperplastic pulpitis, the treatment will be a little more invasive. In these cases the a pulpotomy or pulpectomythat is, the partial or total extraction of the dental pulp.

What to keep in mind about pulpitis?

Pulpitis itself is not a high-risk disease. That is, it will not cause a situation that endangers a person’s life in the short term. However, the pain can be quite uncomfortable and constitutes a dental emergency.

The best thing that can be done to prevent this pathology is to have proper oral hygiene, especially for the little ones at home. This is because they are the most prone to tooth decay, which is the root cause of the problem.

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