A non-vital, or dead, tooth is one that is not receiving any blood flow. The tooth is made out of three layers, which are the pulp, dentin and enamel. The pulp is where the nerve fibers and blood vessels meet. If the tooth pulp is dead, then the tooth is dead. A non-vital tooth is extracted in many cases.
What Causes a Dead Tooth?
There are two things that can cause a tooth to die, which are dental trauma and tooth decay.
A bacterial infection or tooth decay will eventually affect the pulp if it is not treated. This will cause the nerve to die. Nerve death is caused by an inflammatory response. The healthy pulp tries to get rid of the bacteria. However, it restricts blood supply and puts pressure on the pulp. That is why the pulp will eventually die.
This is often caused by an athletic injury. It can also be caused by assault, severe grinding or falling on the teeth. Any type of injury can cause the tooth to die. It can restrict blood flow to the tooth, which will lead to pulp death. You will need to wear a mouth guard or gum shield in order to prevent injury.
Symptoms of a Dead Tooth
You may not be able to tell if the tooth is dead just by looking at it. That is why it is important for you to see a dentist on a regular basis. You may notice some of the following symptoms.
A tooth that is black, yellow or gray may be dead. The dying blood vessels are usually what cause the discoloration. The tooth darkening will not go away unless the problem is treated.
Pain from a dead tooth can vary. Some people do not experience any pain while some people experience severe pain. If you have abscess around the tooth, then you may have swelling around the tooth. You may also have a bad taste in your mouth. A dead tooth will eventually loosen and fall out because the infection will destroy the bone.
How to Treat a Dead Tooth
- Root Canal Treatment
Many people get a root canal in order to save their tooth. A root canal treats the infection and removes the dead part of the pulp. There have been many advances made in dentistry. A root canal is not a procedure that one has to dread. If a root canal is performed early, then it can save the tooth by preventing the infection from getting worse.
A tooth extraction will be performed if the tooth if left untreated. Many people prefer this option because it is less expensive. The tooth can always be replaced with a dental implant and crown.
If you think that you have a dead tooth, then you will need to get to a periodontist as soon as possible. Dr. Hervas and his talented team at Implantation Dental Center will assess your individual situation, and determine if your tooth is salvageable. Your smile is our number one priority, so make an appointment today – we are easily reached at 954-476-0770.