Common Signs That A Tooth Is Dead

Dentist Blog

As is the case with every part of the body, the teeth also contain blood vessels and nerves. This makes them alive and vital. However, a tooth can die or become non-vital for many different reasons. It can be difficult to know when this happens and at times, it can cause a lot of pain. Put simply, a tooth is deemed dead when there is no longer a supply of blood and nutrients to it. There are living cells in every healthy tooth and these help the teeth to develop. The following are top reasons why teeth die and how they are treated.

Reasons Why Teeth Die

The two primary reasons why teeth die are:

  1. A tooth becomes decayed. An infection caused by bacteria, tooth decay will travel deep into a tooth through the enamel and into the dentin if it is not treated in time. Once the decay reaches the innermost part of a tooth, the cells, including the white cells around the nerves, will try to combat it by displaying signs of inflammation. As white blood cells die, pus will develop. If infection is left untreated at this point, the white blood cells will all die and the blood flow will completely cease resulting in sensitivity and/or painful toothache.    
  2. A tooth has undergone some trauma. Trauma can be the result of falls, injuries, biting on something hard, grinding teeth or some type of resorption where the tooth destroys itself from the inside for no obvious reason. If at all possible, it is best to prevent trauma. It is for this reasons that experts recommend a sports mouth guard is worn during sport. Those who suffer from bruxism are also advised to wear a night guard. Additionally, it is best to avoid very hard foods and the teeth should not be used as a tool for opening bottles or tearing packets.   

The Signs That a Tooth Is Dead or Dying

It is often difficult to tell that a tooth is dead from just a visual inspection which is why it is essential to make regular visits to a dentist. When a tooth becomes dead or non-vital, it is possible there are no symptoms. However, many will display some signs like discoloration, swelling, or show a white raised area rather like a pimple. Symptoms like these often indicate an abscess caused by injury or periodontal disease. A ruptured abscess can cause infection around the gums and mouth. Eventually, a dead tooth will loosen, give out a foul smell, and cause serious pain.   

How Dead Teeth Are Treated

Dead tissue in the nerve area of a tooth will attract bacteria. Moreover, an abscess can develop if the problem is not treated and this will cause severe discomfort and pain. The two usual treatments for non-vital teeth are: 

  1. The tooth will need to be extracted.
  2. A dentist may provide root canal treatment if there is any chance of saving what remains of a tooth. 

However, teeth can be saved with good oral hygiene habits at home and by making regular visits to your dentist at a clinic like Empire Dental Associates.


4 December 2014

Baby Tooth as an Adult? You Are Not Alone

It was my secret for a long time, but I am finally sharing it -- I was an adult who still had a baby tooth. My dentist told me it shifted when my adult teeth came in instead of falling out. He also said I should have it pulled before it started causing dental problems, but I decided to keep it for a while. One day, during a dental check-up, my dentist found a cavity on the tooth next to it. He told me it was time to have it extracted, as it was close to the other tooth and making it hard for me to clean it. I had it taken out, and I don't miss it. I created this blog to tell other people with baby teeth as adults that they are not alone. Also, they can cause problems, so have them pulled if your dentist suggests it.