Every tooth has an area with a material known as the pulp. Pulp harbors a network of blood vessels and nerves. These are responsible for keeping teeth alive. The pulp also provides protection to the tooth in different ways. This includes supplying nutrients and moisture to the teeth and serving as the tooth sensor.
As a sensor, pulp tells the brain when something is wrong in a tooth. Ideally, it sends a signal to our brain ensuring that the brain knows that a problem exists.
Some of the problems that compel the pulp to signal the brain include:
- Excess pressure on a tooth
- Extremes in cold or hot temperature
- Trauma which includes a heavy blow
- Inflammation, infection or decay around or in the tooth
In case of severe decay or trauma, blood vessels in the pulp that are responsible for supplying blood to the teeth can be damaged or cut off. This leads to the death of the affected teeth. A tooth with properly functioning nerves and cells is called a vital tooth by dentists. This means that a tooth is not dead but “alive.” On the other hand, a non-vital tooth is a tooth without functioning nerves or blood vessels. It is simply a dead tooth.
Signs that You Have a Dead Tooth
Your tooth can die without any symptom. However, there are cases when you may have symptoms of a dead tooth.
- Pain: If a tooth has infections or a dying nerve, you may experience pain.
- Discoloration: Your tooth can appear grey, black or yellow. Once it dies, it becomes discolored and no change in color will occur.
- Infection: A tooth can swell or cause bad taste or bad odor in your mouth because of the pus that seeps around or through the area.
Even if the dead tooth does not have symptoms or signs, an experienced dentist like Dr. Gabe Doria can assess it at his dental practice in Bayonne, New Jersey in Hudson County during a regular checkup.
How to Treat a Dead Tooth
When a dead tooth is left in place, it creates a breeding ground for infections and further decay. That’s why you should have your dead tooth treated as soon as possible. There are many treatment options for a dead tooth.
- Dental implant – This entails removing the dead tooth, cleaning the area and placing the implant in the place where the dead tooth is removed. With a dental implant, you can eat, talk and smile the way you would with your natural teeth.
- Root Canal – This entails cleaning out your infected pulp, removing the dead tooth’s root and saving the part of a tooth that does not have infections. Usually, this is the part above your gum line. This is followed by placing a dental crown over the treated tooth. The crown matches the color of the surrounding or adjacent teeth.
- Veneer – In cases like when a tooth suffers a trauma but it has no infection, a veneer might be the best treatment. This involves placing a veneer over a discolored tooth. A veneer is an ideal solution especially when a front tooth is discolored.
- Tooth removal– You can also have a dead tooth removed without its replacement. Although this is an option, it has some problems. Once you have a tooth removed without replacement, bone loss can start. This leads to eventual collapse of the structure of the facial bone. However, tooth removal is a good treatment option if it is followed by a dental implant placement.
How to Take Care of Your Dead Tooth
The first and most important step is undergoing a dental assessment. A professional dentist like Dr. Gabe Doria will assess your teeth when you visit his dental practice at Bayonne, New Jersey in Hudson County to ensure that your teeth are healthy.
A professional dental assessment is very important because some dental problems are not noticed till they start causing discomfort and pain. Dr. Gabe encourages patients to visit his dental practice for checkups on regular basis so that they can learn about their problems and how they can be prevent.
If you suspect that you have a dead tooth or if you want to know how to avoid a dead tooth, contact us now to schedule your dental visit.