21 July 2017
This article has been read 36,506 times.

6 Methods of Vitality Testing

6 Methods of Vitality Testing

Below are 6 ways of vitality testing in a tooth. 1 or more of these will help you determine a diagnosis and thus a treatment plan for the tooth in question!

1.Electric Pulp Testing

This involves sending an electric current through the patients tissues to assess the pulp vitality. The sensation will quickly disappear when the stimulus is removed. When the sensation lingers, it signifies stimulation of C fibres, and irreversible pulpitis. No response means that the nerve is non-vital.


Whether it is Ethyl Chloride or a good old fashioned ice stick. A sensation that lingers indicate a pulpitis, no sensation indicates a non-vital tooth.


Applying heat can be very fiddly. Textbooks suggest hot gutta percha or isolating with rubber dam and immersing the tooth with hot water. The test results are largely similar to that of electric pulp testing.

4.Laser Doppler Flowmetry

A non invasive test for blood flow within the pulp tissue. It has been shown to be quite reliable, except it is very technique sensitive and time consuming.

5.Tooth Discolouration

Not strictly a test, but discolouration of the tooth can indicate pulpal haemorrhage, necrosis, microleakage from enamel crazing or leaking restorations, or GP in the pulp chamber.

6.Test Cavity

Cut a cavity, without LA. Does it hurt? If yes, the tooth is vital. Pretty crude? Yes it is. Last resort? I think so!