Electric pulp test

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

In dentistry, an electric pulp test ascertains the vitality of a tooth.

An electric pulp test (EPT) consists of the following: An electric pulp tester is placed on the tooth to be tested along with a drop of conducting paste. Usually the patient's saliva or toothpaste suffices as a conductor of electricity. The electric current is gradually increased until the patient signals a sensation, which consists of clicking or buzzing in the tooth. The test is repeated on neighboring teeth and often on the corresponding contralateral tooth. The lowest perceptible current is recorded for each tooth.

No response from a tooth generally indicates pulpal necrosis or dental abscess, which suggests root canal therapy or dental extraction. A very quick response compared to the adjacent teeth generally indicates pulpitis and presages pulp death. Similar response to neighboring teeth suggests a healthy tooth.