Beneath the enamel and the dentin, is a network of tissues in the innermost part of every tooth, called the ‘pulp’. The pulp is responsible for nourishing the tooth with the required nutrients, contains blood, and has nerves for the tooth. Pulpitis is a condition in which this pulp gets infected. This infection is caused by bacteria that find their ways into the pulp. The treatment for pulpitis is called a root canal treatment. While pain and inflammation are the common symptoms, how do you really know if it’s time for a root canal treatment? Following are the 8 signs that you shouldn’t avoid:
- Severe pain, inflammation and swelling
Pain and inflammation are inevitable when you have pulpitis. In reversible pulpitis, this pain and inflammation is mild and do not last long. However, if the pain is too severe, recurring, or does not seem to go away, do not ignore the signs. Often times, these symptoms are also accompanied by swelling of the gums. Consult a dentist right away if this is what you’re going through! Keeping the infection untreated would only let the bacteria to spread.
- Increased sensitivity
The sensory nerves are contained in the pulp of the tooth. Upon infection, these nerves are damaged by the bacteria, which is the reason why they become more susceptible to sensitivity. This is why an increased sensitivity in your tooth may be an indication of pulpitis.
- Sensitivity to sweet food
This too is related to the damaged sensory nerves in the pulp. Sweet foods are known to have acids like Glycine and Alanine. These acids significantly stimulate the sensory nerves, thereby causing pain or irritation during pulpitis. Sensitivity to sweet food is believed to be one of the primary symptoms of pulpitis.
- Swelling of lymph nodes
Lymph nodes are structures in the body that are a part of the immune system of the body. They help in fighting off virus and bacteria with the help of lymphocytes, and also filter substances through the lymphatic fluid (cite: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/lymph-node). Therefore, with the increased level of bacteria in the tooth, these lymph nodes become hyperactive, thereby, swelling up.
- Bad breath
This too, is related to the high amounts of bacteria that is present inside the pulp. The bad breath during pulpitis is actually the smell of the bacteria. However, during pulpitis, you may experience an unnaturally bad breath that doesn’t go away, even after vigorous brushing.
This is not a very uncommon symptom in any type of infection. The immunity system tends to increase the body temperature to fight off the germs present in the body, especially bacteria and viruses. If you have a recurring fever that does not go away with anti-biotics, and you have a toothache, do not waste another minute in consulting a dentist. This generally occurs in irreversible pulpitis.
- Bad taste
We usually have a bad taste in our mouths arising from the bacteria present there. But do you have a bad taste that just does not go away despite having healthy oral hygiene practices? Chances are that this is coming off from the bacteria present deep inside the pulp of your tooth.
In some rare occurrences, victims may even suffer from a bleeding gum. This is usually indicative of irreversible pulpitis. At this stage, the infection has possibly become so bad that the pulp of the tooth is damaged irreversibly and the infection is spread to other parts of the mouth.
- Severe pain, inflammation and swelling
If you have even few of the above symptoms, consult your dentist right away, before the pulpitis becomes irreversible. After reading this article, even if you feel that you already have an irreversible pulpitis, do not leave it untreated. Let a dental treatment stop the spread of the infection. To add to that, it has been documented that even irreversible pulpitis has been healed through immediate and prolonged dental treatment, as per a research conducted by Elka Radeva, in 2008 (cite: https://www.journal-imab-bg.org/statii-08/vol08_2_3-4str.pdf). Thus, it is never too late to consult your dentist now and get a root canal treatment.