Do you have a tooth that’s been bothering you for a while? Maybe you’ve been experiencing pain or sensitivity when you eat cold or hot foods. If this is the case, then you could be suffering from pulpitis. Pulpitis is an inflammation of the dental pulp, and it can be quite painful. In this blog post, we will discuss pulpitis, explain how it occurs, and list its symptoms. Then we’ll discuss the importance of treating pulpitis and what can happen if it is left untreated. Finally, we’ll compare the two most common treatments for pulpitis: root canal therapy and dental implants. We’ll explain how each treatment works and when one option may be more beneficial than the other.
What is Pulpitis?
Pulpitis occurs when the dental pulp becomes inflamed as a result of bacteria entering the inside of the tooth. This can happen due to a number of reasons, including tooth decay, trauma to the tooth, or repeated dental procedures. The dental pulp is the tissue that contains the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue inside the tooth. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it can be quite painful.
Symptoms of pulpitis include:
- pain or sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods
- prolonged tooth sensitivity that lasts even after the source has been removed
- pain when biting down on the tooth
- pain that radiates from the tooth to the jaw
- gum irritation or discharge around the affected tooth
- a discolored tooth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible. This is because pulpitis will continue to spread if the infection is not removed from the tooth. This can lead to a variety of additional complications such as:
- tooth loss
- infection of the jawbone
- increased risk of system disease (heart disease, stroke, diabetes)
Treating Pulpitis: Root Canal Therapy vs. Dental Implants
There are two main treatments for pulpitis: root canal therapy and dental implants.
Both options have been shown to effectively treat pulpitis in certain cases, however there are certain cases where one treatment may be preferential to the other. To determine when this is, let’s take a closer look at each treatment, what it entails, and when it is recommended.
Root Canal Therapy:
Root canal therapy is a common treatment for pulpitis that involves removing the infected tissue from the inside of the tooth. This procedure is usually performed by a dentist or an endodontist (a root canal specialist).
First, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth and then access the inside of the tooth through a small hole drilled in the top of the tooth. Next, they will remove the infected tissue from the pulp chamber and root canals, then clean the inside of the tooth. Finally, they will fill the inside of the tooth with a special material and seal it off. In most cases, a crown is placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage.
Benefits of Root Canal Therapy:
- Root canal therapy is a common treatment for pulpitis that is usually successful in removing the infected tissue.
- It is a relatively short procedure that can often be completed in one visit.
- The patient will usually experience minimal pain during and after the procedure.
- There is a low risk of complications following the procedure.
- It can preserve the natural tooth structure and prevent the need for tooth extraction or replacement with a dental implant.
Drawbacks of Root Canal Therapy:
- There is a small risk of infection following the procedure.
- The tooth may become more susceptible to fracture after the treatment.
- A crown may need to be placed over the tooth to protect it from further damage.
- Root canal retreatment may be needed if the procedure fails.
A dental implant is a small metal post that is placed into the jawbone to act as a replacement for a missing tooth. Once the implant has been placed, an artificial tooth (crown) is then attached to the top of it. This treatment option works by extracting the affected tooth and then replacing it with a dental implant.
First the dentist will numb the area around the tooth. Then, they will use dental forceps to gently remove the infected tooth. Once the tooth socket is empty, they will clean the area and prepare it for the implant. Next, they will place the implant into the socket and close up the incision with stitches. Finally, once the area has healed, they will attach an artificial tooth (crown) to the top of the dental implant.
Benefits of Dental Implants:
- Dental implants are a permanent solution for missing teeth.
- They can preserve the jawbone and prevent it from deteriorating.
- Dental implants look and function like natural teeth.
- There is no chance of recurring infection since the infection was completely removed with the tooth.
Drawbacks of Dental Implants:
- Dental implants are a more expensive treatment option.
- The procedure is invasive and requires surgery.
- There is a risk of infection following the procedure.
- It can take several months for the area to heal properly.
Which Option is Best?
The best treatment option for pulpitis will depend on the individual case. If the tooth is severely infected, root canal therapy may not be enough to save the tooth and dental implants may be the best option. However, if the infection is caught early enough, root canal therapy can be successful in treating pulpitis and preserving the natural tooth structure. In general, root canal therapy is less expensive and invasive than dental implants, so it is often the first treatment option recommended. However, some dentists will still recommend an extraction in cases where:
- The tooth is severely damaged and there is not enough healthy tooth structure left to support a dental filling or crown.
- The patient is at a high risk for re-infection (for example, if they have extremely thin or long root canals).
- A previous root canal has already failed.
In this blog post, we discussed the top treatments for pulpitis. We defined pulpitis and explained how it occurs. We also discussed the importance of treating pulpitis and what can happen if it is left untreated. Finally, we compared the two most common treatments for pulpitis: root canal therapy and dental implants. Root canal therapy is a less expensive and invasive option, but it may not be enough to save a severely infected tooth. Dental implants are a more expensive and invasive option, but they are permanent and look and function like natural teeth. The best treatment option for pulpitis will depend on the individual case. If you are experiencing any symptoms of pulpitis, be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible.