Irreversible pulpitis deciduous tooth

toothache in children


Irreversible pupitis is a very painful condition in both children and adults. In children it can come on quite quickly as dental caries progresses rapidly through deciduous (baby) teeth.


  • Pain often worse with hot and can sometimes be relieved by cold
  • Can be anything from a sharp pain to a dull, throbbing pain
  • Pain can last minutes, hours or be constant
  • Pain may be worse when biting down
  • Pain worse at night

Irreversible pulpitis in baby teeth is treated by either removing some or all of the nerve of the tooth or by taking out the tooth completely.

Home care advice

Irreversible pulpitis may be managed with pain killers and hygiene measures  however if it gets more severe then it is likely to need professional attention. It can also become an abscess and cause swelling. Any uncontrolled swelling especially when heading towards the neck and throat needs to be URGENTLY treated at an A&E department.

  • Painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol in child suspensions. Please follow instructions and avoid if contraindicated for any underlying medical reasons.
  • Hot salty rinses to clean the area and encourage any drainage of pus that maybe occurring.
  • Gels that anaesthetise (numb) the area. They usually contain either Benzocaine or Lidoncain
  • Natural remedies may offer some relief such as Clove Oil which contains eugenol - a natural anaesthetic and antiseptic. It can be obtained in gel form or as an essential oil

Your tooth will DEFINITELY need treatment from a dentist. The dentist will decide whether the tooth can be saved through a treatment option called pulpotomy or pulpectomy, otherwise they may recommend extraction of the tooth.

Written by Andrew Bain BDS MJDF (RCS Eng)
May 11, 2020