The Nerve of the Tooth Explained

What is the Nerve of the Tooth?

At Fingal Dental Surgery, Dr. Pavlina Fagan likes to explain patients’ treatments to them so they won’t have any fear or anxiety, and to help them to understand exactly what their treatments and procedures involve.

People often ask about the nerve of the tooth- you forget all about it until it hurts!

The Tooth Nerve

The tooth nerve, sometimes referred to as the tooth pulp, is found in the very centre of the tooth, underneath the enamel and dentine layer.

The nerve of the tooth can be highly sensitive in certain situations, and when something affects it, you’ll know about it in a hurry!

The total tooth pulp contains blood vessels, connective tissue, and large nerves. It branches out and continues down each root through the canals of the tooth and stops just short of the apex, or tip of the tooth.

The pulp has several functions, such as:

Sensory Function

Trauma to the tooth nerve is really painful, and it also reacts to differences in temperature and pressure. Ever eat or drink something very cold and find your teeth are ‘ringing’ with pain? That’s the nerve being stimulated.

Formation of Dentine

The pulp is responsible for the formation of dentin. Dentin, or dentine as it’s sometimes called in the UK and Ireland, is the hard tissue that makes up the core of each tooth.

It’s the part of a tooth that lies underneath the enamel, which covers the outside of teeth, and the cementum, which covers the roots. Dentin is yellowish and contains tiny openings that lead to the nerves and cells inside the tooth.

If the enamel on a tooth gets worn away and the dentin is exposed, the tooth can look yellow and hot or cold foods can stimulate the tooth’s nerves, causing tooth sensitivity.  In response to trauma, the pulp forms secondary dentin, also known as reparative dentin.


The pulp contains blood vessels that help to prevent the tooth from becoming brittle by keeping it moisturized and nourished.

Potential Problems with your Tooth Nerve

Inflammation of the pulp from tooth decay, infection, trauma, and so on can result in a condition known as pulpitis.

Root canal therapy is a dental procedure that is preformed to remove the pulp from the tooth when pulpitis has become irreversible or the pulp is dead. Once removed from the tooth, the pulp will not regenerate inside the tooth, and the tooth becomes non-vital (dead).

Patients will often choose to have a tooth with a nerve problem extracted, which Dr. Fagan can perform painlessly for you.

To book your consultation at Fingal Dental Surgery in Lusk Co. Dublin, just call (01)843 0740 or see