“Dental nerve gives the vitality of the tooth”
Dental nerve travels in branches inside each root of the tooth. Its presence gives the vitality of the tooth although this doesn’t mean that its removal affects its function. What are the main causes of dental nerve damages and how can it be treated?
Dr Joanna Azar, Endodontics Specialist at Marble Medical Center – Qatar answers all these questions in the following interview with “Hospitals” magazine.
What is the dental nerve? Where is it found?
The dental nerve is a collection of veins, arteries, and nerve endings. Its bigger part is in the crown of the tooth and is called the pulp chamber.
Then it travels in branches inside each root or “leg” of the tooth until it reaches its ending or as we call it apex or” tip”.
What is its function?
The function of the dental nerve is essentially sensory. It conducts the sensation of heat, cold and pain in the tooth to the central nervous system or “brain”.
Its presence gives the vitality of the tooth although this doesn’t mean that its removal affects its function.
What are the symptoms of dental verve damage?
The symptoms of a dental nerve damage are: acute, continuous, and spontaneous pain.
It increases when exposed to heat and cold and can be intolerable.
The pain is pulse-like. It can get excruciating especially at night time, accompanied by sleep deprivation and is also rebellious to all kind of pain killers.
What causes dental nerve damage?
The main cause of dental nerve damage is deep dental decays reaching that nerve. In addition, a trauma to the tooth can cause an injury to the nerve as well.
It is also important to mention that in both cases, the symptoms can be silent and diagnosed fortuitously years later.
What can you do for a nerve pain?
The nerve pain cannot be treated at home. The patient must come urgently to the dentist to soothe the pain. This is done by opening the pulp chamber to relieve the pressure caused by the swelling of blood vessels responding to the aggression of the decay.
If not treated, the pain could subside but would leave place to the formation of a chronic infection: necrosis of the pulp tissue and formation of an abscess in the future only diagnosed with X-rays. If and abscess shows on the gum, this means that the nerve has died long time ago.
How do you treat nerve damage?
Nerve damage can be treated by a procedure called Root Canal Treatment and it is recommended to be done by a Root Canal Specialist. This procedure is harmless and is done under anesthesia. Once the pulp chamber is opened, we will have access to the branching canals by using special tools to go through them. This doesn’t consist of removing the nerve only, but to clean the canals from the dead nerve and its surrounding tissues until the tip or apex.
This is done by cleaning mechanically (using tools) and chemically (using solutions to wash off the residues).
The purpose of the RCT is to give the roots a conical shape or triangle in 3D. Then we seal the now empty canals with a paste called “Gutta-Percha”. This paste is biocompatible and harmless, and it will occupy the nerve’s place inside the canal for good.