Did you know that teeth can die? Once dying tooth symptoms begin, you may only have a few days to seek treatment, so it's important to understand why teeth die, signs of a dead tooth and treatment options for this condition.
What are The Signs of Dead Tooth?
Healthy teeth have a soft tissue called pulp in their centres. The pulp contains the nerve tissue and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. The pulp extends from the crowns of the teeth to the tips of their roots.
The pulp can become injured. When it gets damaged and can't repair itself, it may die. When the pulp dies, the tooth becomes dead or non-vital.
There are many ways your pulp can become injured. Cracked teeth or deep cavities are two causes. When you crack a tooth, bacteria from your mouth can access your pulp. Deep cavities can also let bacteria reach the pulp. In both situations, the pulp can become infected and die.
Pain doesn't always occur when a tooth dies. Some people don't experience pain and may be completely unaware that their tooth has died. Regular dental check-ups are essential to identify these asymptomatic dead teeth.
Signs of a dying or dead tooth can include:
- Pain in the affected tooth when biting or chewing
- Spontaneous pain in the tooth
- Over-sensitivity in the affected tooth when you drink hot or cold beverages
- A dead tooth can appear discoloured and is usually grey in appearance
If your pulp becomes infected and dies, it won't get better on its own. Without dental treatment, the infection that killed the pulp can spread to the bone around your tooth. A pocket of pus can then form within your jawbone. It's essential to seek immediate treatment for dead teeth.
There are two main treatments for dead teeth: extraction or root canal treatment. Your dentist will recommend the most appropriate treatment for your tooth. For example, if your tooth is severely cracked, your dentist may recommend an extraction. If your tooth is in good condition other than the dead pulp, a root canal treatment may be able to save the tooth.
There are many things you can do to keep your teeth healthy. A good oral hygiene routine is essential. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This toothpaste strengthens teeth by remineralising weakened enamel and repairs early teeth and gum damage. Don't forget to floss once a day, too.
If you participate in sports, remember to protect your teeth. Wearing a mouthguard is one of the best ways to protect your teeth from injuries. Ask your dentist about having a custom-fit mouthguard made.
If you're worried that your teeth have died, see a dental professional right away. Your dentist will recommend an appropriate treatment and have your smile looking and feeling great in no time.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.