When You Have a Dead (Non-Vital) Tooth
While teeth are comprised of three layers, the enamel, dentin, and pulp, the nerves and blood vessels are located within the pulp. Whether due to injury, trauma, or tooth decay, when the tooth pulp has no access to blood flow, it is considered dead. In a majority of cases, a dead (non vital) tooth is removed.
To better understand, suppose you have a tooth that is decayed. If the cavity or infection accesses the nerve or pulp, the nerve dies. This essentially happens because the healthy pulp attempts to fight off the bacteria by increasing the pressure inside the pulp. As a result, the blood supply is cut off, killing the pulp. In other cases such as injury or trauma, the physical force applied to a tooth can sever the blood supply at the tip of the root. In turn, the pulp dies. It’s important to realize that a dead tooth is somewhat of a ticking time bomb, because the dead tissue within the tooth can become infected and seep out of the tip of the root.
What To Look For
Contrary to what many believe, identifying a dead tooth is not always easy. Even so, if you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s wise to contact your dentist:
- Darkening of the tooth: a tooth that becomes yellow, gray, or black is a clear indication of a dead tooth. The color is a result of bruising from dying blood cells, and this will not remedy itself. Treatment is necessary!
- Pain: while some individuals do not experience pain when they have a dead tooth, others may suffer from extreme pain, along with swelling, foul taste, and a pimple on the gum. Even so, some patients only experience mild soreness or sensitivity when biting down. As a rule, do not wait until pain is severe.
Dead (Non-Vital) Tooth Treatment
While treatment for a dead (non-vital) tooth depends greatly on the timing and the extent of infection, there are generally two options—root canal treatment and tooth extraction. If the tooth is detected early, root canal treatment is a safe, effective way of eliminating the infection and preserving the tooth. Yet, if the non-vital tooth is detected late, extraction of the tooth may be necessary.
Your Trusted Dentist
Providing comprehensive, high quality dentistry to residents in Seffner and surrounding areas, Dr. O. Sheehy, DDS at Bayshore Dental Center is your trusted dentist. While teeth are surrounded with a powerful layer of enamel, they can still become decayed or damaged in a variety of ways. If you have a large cavity that hasn’t been treated, or if you have suffered an injury to your tooth, it’s a good idea to call Bayshore Dental Center today. No matter what - Dr. Sheehy and the team are sure to find a solution to put you at ease.
Posted on behalf of Bayshore Dental Center