What Is the Function of Tooth Pulp?

The Most Vital Part of the Tooth

Dentist with boy in surgery Munich, Germany
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Tooth pulp is literally the most vital part of the tooth. The pulp originates in the center of the tooth, underneath the enamel layer and dentin layer, in the pulp chamber. The shape of a pulp chamber varies based on the size of the tooth itself. The chamber is individualized for each individual tooth.

Tooth pulp is made up of living items such as blood vessels, connective tissue, and large nerves.

The pulp, also commonly referred to as the nerve, branches out and continues down each root through the canals of the tooth and stops just shy of the apex, or tip of the tooth.

Individuals can possess up to 52 total different pulp organs; 32 of the pulp organs can be found in the permanent teeth and 20 can be found in the primary teeth. The pulp found in primary teeth is lost along with the teeth when they fall out or are removed from the mouth.

Functions of Tooth Pulp

The pulp has several important functions. Although the primary function of tooth pulp is the formation of dentin, it has several other functions as well. 

Functions of tooth pulp include:

  • Sensory Function - Pain from trauma to the dentin and/or pulp, differences in temperature, and pressure are caused by stimulation of the pulp.
  • Formation of Dentin - The pulp is responsible for the formation of dentin. In response to trauma, the pulp forms secondary dentin, also known as reparative dentin.
  • Nourishment - The pulp contains blood vessels that help to prevent the tooth from becoming brittle by keeping it moisturized and nourished.


The most important job of tooth enamel if to produce Dentin. Dentin is a calcified tissue that serves as the second layer of the tooth. It is located directly above the pulp chamber, and it is normally covered by tooth enamel.

Dentin makes up a majority of the tooth’s structure. It is both harder and denser than actual bone. Dentin varies in color. It can appear gray or black, but it most typically appears with a yellowish hue.


Inflammation of the pulp from tooth decay, infection, trauma, and/or various related causes results 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).

Also Known As

You may have heard tooth pulp referred to by a different name, as there are several other common names for tooth pulp. Those other names include:

Dental pulp

Dental nerve

Tooth nerve