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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 neighbouring teeth and often on the corresponding tooth on the other side of the jaw. The lowest perceptible current is recorded for each tooth.
No response from a tooth generally indicates a dead nerve or dental abscess, which suggests root canal therapy or dental extraction. A very quick response compared to the adjacent teeth generally indicates nerve inflammation and presages pulp death. Similar response to neighboring teeth suggests a healthy tooth.
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