Potential Dental Treatments For Pulpitis

Posted on: 27 April 2015

The pulp inside a tooth contains all of the tissue, blood cells, and nerves that keep the tooth alive. Trauma or a cavity or crack can create a hole in the protective dentin and expose the pulp. This exposure can lead to an infection called pulpitis, which presents as pain in the tooth. Concurrent pain in the sinus can also occur depending on the tooth's location. 

There are a few potential treatments for pulpitis depending on the severity of damage. Mild to moderate inflammation in the pulp is often reversible with treatment. Severe swelling can cut off the circulation and render the pulp dead, which makes it impossible to save or irreversible.

Here are a few dental treatment options for pulpitis you can discuss with your dentist.

Reversible Pulpitis: Dental Filling

A mild to moderate case of pulpitis is often fairly easy to treat. The dentist will first prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection. A dental filling can then be used to patch the hole in the tooth that was exposing the pulp.

There are a variety of filling materials with different costs, strengths, and weaknesses. Silver amalgam fillings are among the cheapest and strongest but will not match the color of your natural tooth. Composite resin fillings are a bit more expensive and less strong but will match your tooth and still be sturdy enough for most patients.

Irreversible Pulpitis: Root Canal and Crown

If the pulp has died but the rest of the tooth is in relatively good shape, your dentist might recommend a root canal procedure.

The dentist will open the top of the tooth and use specialized tools to clean out the infected and dead pulp from the canal. The canal is then rinsed with an antibiotic solution to prevent recurrent infections. A biocompatible plastic material is then injected into the canal to stand in for the removed pulp and seal the canal shut.

An artificial tooth crown is then created to cover the entry hole at the top of the tooth. Like dental fillings, there are different crown materials available. A common choice involves a resin top with a sturdy metal base, but those can show a metal line if the cap doesn't come fully down to the gum line. Fully resin crowns are also available for an additional cost.

Irreversible Pulpitis: Extraction and Dental Implant

If the pulp has died due to severe damage to the tooth, your dentist might recommend extraction. A dental replacement will be fitted after the extraction to prevent neighboring teeth from leaning into the hole and to keep your bite intact.

Dental implants are one of the most stabile and natural feeling dental replacement options. A dentist, like John S. Lyon DDS, will implant a metal root into the jawbone and allow the area to heal until the bone is firmly holding the root in place. A post is then attached to the root and an artificial tooth is then snapped over the post.