You might think of teeth as hard, bony structures, perhaps lacking life, but that is far from the truth. Teeth are very much alive, and they can die while still in your mouth. Once this happens, it’s not long before the symptoms of a dead tooth begin to show. It’s very important to notice these and treat them appropriately.
This article will discuss why it’s important to understand what happens with a dead tooth and what can cause this to happen. We’ll talk about signs and symptoms to look out for and what treatment options are available.
What Is A Dead Tooth?
A dead tooth means that the living tissue inside the tooth has died. A healthy tooth contains a delicate inner filling of pulp in the very center. It contains sensitive nerve endings and blood vessels from the crown to the roots that keep the tooth alive. However, the pulp can sustain damage and injury. Like all living tissue, though, it has some capability to repair itself, but only up to a certain point.
If the tissue experiences damage it can not recover from, it dies, and the tooth becomes non-vital.
How Can You Get A Dead Tooth?
Many factors can contribute to pulp injury. If a tooth breaks, cracks or fractures, the pulp not only experiences damage but also becomes exposed to the bacteria-rich environment of the mouth. The same is true for cavities that penetrate the tooth enamel and dentin layers deep into the tooth. Ultimately, bacterial infection can cause the pulp to die.
Signs and Symptoms of Dead Teeth
Interestingly, not everyone experiences pain when a tooth dies. Some people have asymptomatic dead teeth for years, completely unaware that anything is wrong. However, a dead tooth often appears grey and discolored, making it relatively easy to spot.
Pain, however, is common when the pulp becomes infected and starts to die. The pain may worsen when chewing or biting or if you clench your jaw. You might also experience hypersensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages.
Treating a Dead Tooth
If the pulp inside a tooth dies, it will not resolve on its own. Any infection potent enough to kill pulp can spread to the jawbone from the tooth and even infect the gums and neighboring teeth. This often results in an abscess, a collection of pus in the jaw, tooth socket, or gums. If left untreated, this can progress and cause dangerous complications such as sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
The only way to treat a dead tooth is through the expertise and tools of a qualified dentist. Your dentist will either perform a root canal or extract the tooth altogether, depending on which option is best for you. For example, a dead tooth in otherwise decent shape can have a root canal to remove the dead pulp and fill it with an inert, rubbery filling. If the tooth is severely damaged, though, an extraction will work best.
Conclusion: See A Dentist Promptly
Keeping your teeth healthy is a dentist’s job. If you experience any signs of a dead tooth, visit your dentist immediately – there might be a chance to save the tooth and prevent infection. Remember that good oral hygiene is key to preventing infection and keeping your teeth healthy!
Luxe Dental Arts is your premier holistic dentistry in Sugar Land, TX, specializing in high-quality dentistry with a gentle touch. We use advanced, modern techniques to give you the best possible treatment. Give us a call at (281) 969-7456, and we’ll be happy to help with a VIP dental experience!