A dead tooth, also called a non-vital tooth, refers to a tooth which no longer has any blood flow to it. This can be a result of either tooth decay or tooth injury. Below we will take a look at the symptoms, treatments, and ways to prevent the ailment.
A tooth has three layers—enamel, pulp and dentin. The pulp of the tooth is where the blood vessels and nerves are located. Dying nerves in the pulp lead to tooth decay, where the blood flow also becomes stunted. The dead nerve is medically referred to as the necrotic pulp.
As the condition worsens and the decay continues, the tooth will ultimately fall out on its own. A dead tooth should be treated as soon as possible before it affects the jaw and other teeth.
A dead tooth is not easy to identify without professional help. For this reason, regular visits to the dentist are a must. There are, however, two noticeable symptoms that should warrant concern: pain and change in color of the tooth.
The pain is a result of pus, bacteria and dead nerve remnants that build up in the pulp cavity inside the tooth. This puts pressure on the nerve ending on the outside of the tooth called, periodontal membrane.
This can lead to other infections that produce additional symptoms like, bad taste and smell, swelling and a pimple on the gums.
A decaying tooth can only be fixed if it’s treated quickly. You may not feel any pain at first but if you suspect you have a dead tooth, then you must get medical help immediately.
Once diagnosed (usually through an X-ray), your dentist will recommend one of the two treatments–extraction or root canal.
Tooth extraction is recommended as the last resort and is only done if the dentist can’t treat the decaying tooth. For this reason, early diagnosis and treatment are very essential. This is a relatively simple procedure that’s cheap and painless. After removing the tooth, the dentist can replace it with an implant, fixed bridge or another prosthetic tooth.
Root canal, also called endodontic, is a procedure that aims to remove all infection from the infected tooth and its root. It’s a long procedure and the patient may have to visit the dentist more than once for the treatment to be complete. Once the infection has been removed and the tooth has been cleaned, the tooth will be filled permanently.
A dead tooth can still be functional after treatment but it’s more likely to become brittle in which case the dentist will fit a crown to provide extra support to it.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine–brushing regularly, using fluoride toothpastes, flossing, avoiding sugary diet and regularly visiting your dentist are some ways that can help keep your teeth healthy.
If you’re looking for affordable dental service in Palmdale, then contact Boulevard Dental now. Dr. Gobrial has dedicated many years of hard work to restoring his patient’s oral health. Learn more about Dr. Gobrial and our services on our website and arrange your full consultation today!