3 What is a Dead Tooth? (Causes and Symptoms) - Maz Endodontics - Blog

Did you know that 92% of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have tooth decay in their permanent teeth? Yikes! If you have noticed discoloration, discomfort, or pain in your teeth, then you may be a part of this statistic. While tooth decay itself may not seriously impact your day-to-day life, negative results like having a dead tooth definitely will. To get more information on dead teeth and the treatment options available to restore them, contact the experts at Maz Endodontics today.

What is a Dead Tooth?

A dead tooth is also referred to as a non-vital tooth. It occurs when the nerves of the pulp stop providing blood to the tooth. Over time, the lack of blood flow can cause an infection, the nerve to die, or the tooth to fall out entirely.

What Causes a Tooth to Die?

According to the experts, tooth decay and tooth trauma are the two main causes of a dead tooth. Although each of these can be brought about differently, the process of becoming a dead tooth is quite similar. First, the outer-most layer of the tooth, the enamel, is weakened. This results in cavities that impact the layers underneath. From there, the bacteria create a pathway to the deepest layer of the tooth: the pulp. While the healthy pulp will initially try to fight off the infection, eventually the nerve will die.

What Are the Symptoms of a Dead Tooth?

Depending on the cause of the dead tooth, there could be a multitude of symptoms associated with it. Some of the common ones include:

  • Discomfort in or around the tooth
  • Jabbing pain from infection
  • Discoloration that is gray or black
  • Swelling around the tooth
  • Bad smell or taste in your mouth
  • Sore gums
  • Sensitivity in surrounding teeth

The symptoms of a dead tooth are not limited to this list. In some cases, a dead tooth can cause one or a combination of the symptoms listed above. If you have been experiencing something similar, then it is crucial that you schedule an appointment with your dentist today to treat the tooth in the early stages.

Prevention and Treatment

Like most dental issues, prevention is the best medicine. Prioritizing your oral hygiene routine that includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, cleaning your tongue, and never skipping your professional cleanings is of the utmost importance. However, a dead tooth can occur to even the most dedicated individual on occasion. If you find yourself in this situation, then the best way to save the tooth from dying is by undergoing a root canal.

This will ensure that any infection is removed from the area and that a proper seal is put on the tooth to stop further damage. In extreme cases where the infection has already done too much damage, the tooth will need to be extracted and replaced with an implant or bridge. Both options are effective at treating the dead tooth. But how quickly you get to the dentist will decide which method is used.

Experiencing a dead tooth can be painful in more ways than one. While it can be nerve-wracking trying to figure out what to do, visiting your dentist when you notice the first signs is crucial. This can increase the likelihood of saving the tooth altogether. It can also prevent any infection from spreading throughout your mouth, resulting in even more dental issues. For more information on scheduling an appointment, getting the next best steps, and figuring out treatment options, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Maz Endodontics today.