Not only is a tingling sensation in your teeth annoying, it’s a sign of pulpitis. This condition involves inflammation of the nerve and blood vessel portion of your tooth, or the dental pulp 1. When inflamed blood vessels press on nerves in the pulp, tingling or pain can occur in your tooth. Physical, thermal or bacterial irritants can cause either reversible or irreversible pulpitis. As there are no home remedies to effectively treat pulpitis -- and letting the condition go may lead to tooth loss -- it is important to see your dentist right away for diagnosis and treatment.
Tingling or mild, intermittent pain in a tooth is usually an indication of reversible pulpitis. If the source of the pulp irritation is treated early enough, the tissue will usually calm down, and the discomfort goes away. Pulpitis can be brought on by frequently eating extremely hot or cold foods, tooth decay or a crack in your tooth. Having a deep cavity filled or a tooth prepared for a crown can also cause the condition 1. A tooth restored with a large metal filling, deep cleanings, orthodontic movement of your teeth and trauma due to grinding are other possible causes of reversible pulpitis.
If the cause of reversible pulpitis is not corrected, the condition can progress to irreversible pulpitis. At this point, the inflammation is more severe, causing pain that ranges from a dull ache to very sharp. The pain can last from minutes to hours, or it can be continuous. Lying down, tapping the tooth or exposing it to heat often causes the pain to worsen. With irreversible pulipitis, the dental pulp is not able to heal itself even after removal of the original cause of the irritation. Endodontic therapy -- a root canal -- is needed to save the tooth.
- General and Oral Pathology for the Dental Hygienist, 2nd Edition; Leslie DeLong and Nancy Burkhart
- Endodontics: Principles and Practices, 5th Edition; Mahmoud Torabinejad, et al.
- Shafer’s Textbook of Oral Pathology, 6th Edition; R. Rajendran and B. Sivapathasundaram
- Dr. Kenneth D. Loeffler, DDS; Loeffler & Pitt Dental Associates; Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images