Inflammation of the pulp of a tooth


  • Commonly presents as a complication of dental caries
  • Thermal, chemical, or traumatic insult to the pulp

Clinical features

  • Pulsatile pain that lasts for several hours and worsens at
  • Thermal sensitivity
  • Tooth is very tender to percussion

Differential diagnosis

  • Referred pain of ENT origin, e.g. sinusitis
  • Pain due to temporomandibular joint pain dysfunction
    syndrome, or erupting mandibular wisdom teeth
  • Dentine sensitivity due to thermal, tactile, or osmotic


  • Give an analgesic for pain relief
  • Paracetamol 1 g every 8 hours
    Child: 10-15 mg/kg every 8 hours
  • Or ibuprofen 400 mg every 8 hours
    Child: 7-13 mg/kg every 8 hours
  • Refer to dentist pulpotomy, endodontic (root
    canal) treatment, or extraction