What are Neuropeptides?
Neuropeptides are small molecules, similar to proteins, that are found within the body. A hundred different neuropeptides exist, with different purposes and effects within the body. Neuropeptides allow neurons to communicate with each other and influence certain brain activities.
The presence of neuropeptides can also influence the presence of inflammation and pain within certain parts of the body, including the teeth. Certain neuropeptides can be found in the soft dental pulp inside teeth, including:
- Substance P
- Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)
- Neurokinin A
- Neuropeptide Y
- Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide
Many of these neuropeptides are tied to the inflammatory system and pain responses within the body. While they may be present and harmless in small quantities, increased presence of these neuropeptides can have negative effects.
How Do Neuropeptides Affect Dental Pulp?
Dental pulp is the soft tissue found within the tooth, under the layers of enamel and dentin. Pulp contains many sensitive components, including nerve tissue, roots and sensory fibers, that are vital to keeping the teeth and gums healthy.
Increased production of neuropeptides can result in more inflammation and pain within the dental pulp. Once these increased levels of neuropeptides are present in the pulp, they may also make it harder to numb the tooth in order to perform dental work. The increased levels of inflammation in the dental pulp can result in a sort of resistance to any numbing agents that are applied to the area.
Can Dental Sensitivity Be Caused by Neuropeptides?
The increased presence of inflammation is one of the major components of the dental pain that some patients experience, and can be a contributing cause of dental sensitivity. For local patients who have experienced discomfort at the dentist, seeking treatment via qualified Houston endodontics may have better results. With a full and complete knowledge of the tooth’s structure and components, an endodontist can properly diagnose and assist with dental inflammation that may cause pain or discomfort during routine procedures and suggest effective treatment for the issue.