Did you know that teeth can die? Read on to learn more about why teeth die, how to identify this condition, and how dentists treat it.
Reasons for Dead Teeth
Healthy teeth have a soft tissue called pulp in their centers. Pulp contains the nerve tissue and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive, notes the American Dental Association. The pulp extends all the way from the crowns of the teeth to the tips of their roots.
Pulp can become injured. When it gets injured 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 are able to access your pulp. Deep cavities can also let bacteria reach the pulp. In both situations, the pulp can become infected and die.
Signs of Dead Teeth
There are many signs that can occur when pulp become infected and die. Pain in the affected tooth when biting or chewing is one sign, explains the University of California San Diego. Spontaneous pain in the tooth is another sign. Over-sensitivity in the affected tooth when you drink hot or cold beverages is yet another sign.
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 checkups are important to identify these asymptomatic dead teeth.
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. To avoid this unpleasant situation, it's important 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.
Keeping Teeth Healthy
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 a toothpaste like Colgate Total Daily Repair toothpaste. This toothpaste strengthens teeth by remineralizing 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 mouth guard is one of the best ways to protect your teeth from injuries. Ask your dentist about having a custom-fit mouth guard made.
If you're worried that your teeth have died, see your dentist right away for treatment. Your dentist will recommend an appropriate treatment and have your smile looking and feeling great in no time.