What Is a Dead Tooth?

Middle-aged man in a gray shirt cringes and touches his cheek due to a toothache from a dying tooth

Even without knowing exactly what having a “dead tooth” means, you can probably guess that it’s not so good. And you’d be right! A dead tooth, also sometimes called a non-vital tooth, is one that has dead nerves and no longer has any blood flow to it. If you leave a dead tooth untreated, it could lead to further oral health problems like an infection or abscess.

Causes of a Dead Tooth

The two main causes behind a death tooth are decay and trauma. With the first, the decay has been left to penetrate deep into the tooth and infect the inner pulp, causing swelling and pressure that eventually reduces blood flow. With the second, an injury to the area could cut off the blood flow to the tooth or cause the blood vessels in the tooth to burst.

Signs of a Dead Tooth

One common sign of a dead tooth is that it’s darker in color than your others. It may appear a little more yellow, gray, or black due to the blood cells in the tooth dying. Another common symptom is some level of pain. This pain often occurs as the tooth is dying due to irritation inside your tooth. Even after the tooth’s nerve has died, you may still feel pain due to sensitivity from nerves surrounding your tooth or a possible infection in your gums or nearby area.

However, there are some times when a tooth is dead but it’s not easy to identify it simply by looking at it. But when you keep up with your regular appointments here at Helotes Family Dentistry, our expert team will be able to detect any abnormalities and treat any problem areas.

Treatments for a Dying Tooth

If you have a dead tooth, it’s important to act as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of your case, we will either suggest root canal therapy or a tooth extraction. The sooner you act, the greater your chance of preserving your tooth, but if you do need to your tooth removed, there are realistic tooth replacement options out there for you like a dental implant.

We Can Keep Your Smile Healthy & Strong!

Need a dental professional to check out your tooth? Ring up Helotes Family Dentistry and we’ll set up a time for you to come in so we can have a look. Feel free to call or email us with any other dental questions you may have–your oral health is our priority!

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Helotes Family Dentistry

Helotes Family Dentistry