When a tooth has no access to blood flow, whether due to decay, trauma, or heavy wear, it is considered a non-vital, or Dead Tooth. To best understand how a tooth is classified as dead, consider the three layers of a tooth: enamel, dentin, and pulp. Containing blood vessels and nerve fibers, the pulp of the tooth dies without blood. Thus, a dead pulp means a dead tooth.
It’s not easy to identify a dead tooth by simply looking at it. Yet, patients may note a few symptoms. For example, the tooth may appear yellow or varying shades of gray or black. Often compared to “bruising,” this change of color indicates dying blood cells. Another symptom that patients may experience is pain. Pain felt from a dead tooth may range from mild to very severe, especially if infection is present. In some cases, an abscess may develop, causing bad taste, swelling, or a bump on the patient’s gum.
Treatment For Dead Teeth
Treatment for dead teeth depends, in large part, on timing. If the tooth is detected very soon after it dies, root canal therapy is a highly effective option for preserving the tooth while preventing further infection. Yet, in other cases, where the tooth is beyond repair, extraction (removal) of the tooth may be the only option.
If you suspect that you have a dead tooth, it’s a good idea to see your dentist–soon! There is a small window of time between the tooth dying and infection setting in (abscess). Once this happens, you may find yourself needing emergency dental treatment.
The team at Grateful Dental strives to provide the highest quality dental care, helping patients achieve healthy and long-lasting smiles. Led by Dr. Leia Porcaro, we value compassionate care that puts patients at ease. Our goal is to help you avoid emergency care whenever possible. That’s why we encourage you to schedule a dental checkup today. With thorough examinations and advanced imaging to detect early signs of dental decay, we can prevent further damage to teeth and help you maintain good oral health. Call Grateful Dental today.