You may have heard the term “dead tooth” and wondered what exactly it means. Or maybe you’re experiencing this condition yourself and are looking for more information about what it means for you and your oral health. Let’s take a look at this in more detail to help you understand the causes and possible treatments of a dead tooth.
What is a dead tooth?
Your teeth are made up of living tissue, just like the rest of your body. If a steady blood flow is no longer delivered to those tissues, then they start to die. The pulp, connective tissue, and nerves inside will gradually die and eventually leave you with a dead tooth.
You will likely notice the tooth start to change color as it dies, turning gray, brown, or black. You may also experience some pain and swelling in the gums around the tooth and perhaps pain from the tooth itself. As the tooth dies, it may also start to smell or cause a bad taste in your mouth due to the decay.
Causes of a dead tooth
The two main causes of a dead tooth are injury and tooth decay caused by poor dental hygiene. If you experience trauma to the tooth during an accident, then this can cause damage to the blood vessels supplying blood to the tooth. With tooth decay, the bacteria that build up can cause an infection within the tooth, spreading to the pulp and other living tissues in the tooth.
How to treat a dead tooth
If you start to notice signs of a dead or dying tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to diagnose the problem. And if you’ve had an accident that caused trauma to your mouth and teeth, always get it checked out by your dentist so you can catch any problems before they get worse. If left untreated, a dying or dead tooth can cause bacteria and infection to spread to other teeth and your gums, which could lead to more dead teeth.
How a dead tooth is treated will depend on the severity. If caught early enough, a root canal procedure may be able to treat the problem and allow you to keep the tooth. This involves drilling a small hole into the tooth and extracting the affected pulp and tissue from inside it, removing any signs of infection. This hole will then be filled in and your dentist may recommend a dental crown or veneer to strengthen and cover the tooth.
In more severe cases, the dead tooth will need to be removed from the mouth to prevent the spread or if the tooth cannot be saved. You can then get a dental implant or bridge to fill in the gap.
If you need treatment for a damaged tooth, then book an appointment with Advance Family Dentists and let us determine the best course of treatment for you.