Could It Be Irreversible Pulpitis?
When a Root Canal Is Really Necessary

So… you've had a sharp and unnerving pain in your tooth for the past couple days. You can't quite figure out if it's an emergency, or just a phase that'll pass. Your teeth are sensitive anyway, right? Maybe all you need is a desensitizing tooth paste and some time to pray the pain away… right?!


irreversible pulpitis

Spontaneous or constant tooth pain that isn't triggered by an extreme temperature or sweet substance can indicate that there is something seriously wrong with your tooth! And once you realize that your pain is anything but ordinary, you should seek the help of a professional immediately.

What Does My Tooth Pain Mean?

Tooth pain that occurs without warning or without a trigger can mean that your tooth's pulp is affected or damaged in some way. This condition is referred to as “irreversible pulpitis”, and only a root canal treatment (or extraction) will be able to resolve the problem. With irreversible pulpitis, the pulp damage will not be able to recover on its own. In some cases, irreversible pulpitis may not even cause any pain but will be discovered with the appearance of a gum “fistula” or “boil” (pimple on the gums), or when the tooth appears suspiciously darker in colour.

"Reversible pulpitis", on the other hand, is a mild inflammation or irritation of the pulp. It indicates damage or infection that hasn't yet surpassed the dentin layer of the tooth (the layer under the surface enamel). Decay or fracture that hasn't penetrated to the tooth's pulp does not indicate a need for endodontic therapy, but rather, a dental filling is in order to prevent further problems from occurring. While the dentin is the only affected layer, mild irritation/inflammation of the pulp could occur, and could cause symptoms such as pain that only occurs with a trigger, such as biting into a cold popsicle, and should subside after the cause of the pain is removed.

Aren't Sure? See a Professional...

It's important to book a visit with your dentist or endodontist if you have any type of tooth pain that is concerning. By addressing the problem sooner than later, you'll be doing yourself and your mouth a favor. If you choose to wait too long to seek professional advice, you'll probably end up needing more than just a filling.

Tooth pain (or another symptom) getting you down? Give our experienced Scarborough endodontist Dr. Lance Isaac a call today! He'll be able to determine the cause of your symptom(s) and recommend the proper treatment to get your oral health back on track.