Often, your teeth can become painful or swollen from a course of events and even change their color. Whenever this happens, it could be a sign of a dying or dead tooth.
These symptoms call for quick action because you need to prevent further damage to your affected tooth and take careful measures to restore it.
This article will run you through the symptoms of a dead tooth and how soon you should follow protocol to save it. Our dental and implant experts in Denver will further guide you about the safety of procedures you’ll need to follow along with a thorough consultation.
What are the Signs of a Dead Tooth?
Your teeth have three layers, namely dentin, pulp, and enamel. They receive their nerve and blood supply from the pulp and when these nerves and vessels die, this generally leads to a ‘dead tooth’.
Depending on the cause, a dead tooth can have various signs and symptoms. These include:
A dead nerve will not always hurt, but if it does, the pain may be severe, as in the case of a cracked or chipped tooth or an exposed tooth root.
The tooth may turn grey or black within a few days after the nerve dies. If dead nerve results from physical trauma, the discolouration may occur immediately.
In some cases, a dead tooth causes the development of an abscess (infection) in the jawbone at the site of the dead root. An abscess can lead to swelling of your face and neck, drainage problems, and bone loss.
Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
If your tooth is dead, but there’s still some life to it, you may notice that it’s sensitive to touch, hot and cold temperatures, or even sugary foods or drinks. Your tooth might remain sensitive to hot or cold temperatures even after the hot or cold stimulus has been removed.
If the tooth is completely dead — which means the nerve tissue inside has died — you might not have any symptoms at all. This is because dead nerves don’t transmit pain signals to the brain.
What are the Causes of a Dead Tooth?
There can be several causes depending on your teeth and dental hygiene practice. Following are some of the common causes of a dead tooth:
When your mouth is healthy, the area around your teeth is free of gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease). But poor dental hygiene can lead to a build-up of plaque and tartar, which can irritate your gums, cause inflammation, and eventually lead to tooth decay or decay and death.
An injury to your teeth or jaw can result in a knocked-out, cracked, or chipped tooth. The nerve may die if blood flow is cut off from the pulp chamber for long enough.
A dead tooth can become infected and cause abscesses, which are collections of pus at the end of the roots of the teeth or in the gums. If left untreated, abscesses can cause serious complications, including spreading the infection to other areas of your head and neck or even your brain.
A large filling
If the filling is large and close to the nerve, this may cause the nerve to die and become a dead tooth. This is one of the most common causes of it.
Does a Dead Tooth Cause Pain?
A dead tooth is usually painless when the blood supply is completely dead. When the tooth dies due to injury or disease, the tissues inside it break down, decompose and become infected. This causes swelling and pressure, which pushes on the tooth’s nerve and causes pain. The body also reacts to this infection with inflammation, which can cause pain in other parts of the mouth. Pain caused by it can be mild or severe, depending on its severity.
How Long Can a Dead Tooth Stay in Your Mouth?
Our expert dentists at Denver believe that if the tooth is mobile or becomes mobile due to an injury and can’t be stabilized with splinting or other treatments, it will eventually fall out.
If the tooth has remained stable, however, it could stay in your mouth indefinitely, though there are several reasons why you might want to get rid of it sooner rather than later.
How Can DICC Treat Your Dead Tooth?
1. Root Canal
Root canal treatment involves removing the infected pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the canals, and filling and sealing them. Your first appointment at DICC, Denver, will remove the infected pulp. The root canals are cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with gutta-percha. A post may need to be placed to help support the tooth. A crown is then placed to protect the tooth from fractures and restore it fully.
2. Tooth Extraction/Removal
Our dentists may also suggest tooth extraction or removal for your dead tooth. If one of your teeth is no longer functional — and it’s causing problems — our dentist might recommend removing it.
Tooth replacement options include dental implants, bridges, partial dentures, or complete dentures.
Tips for Preventing a Dead Tooth
To keep your teeth and gums healthy, here are some tips that will help you avoid a dead tooth:
- Brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque, which contains bacteria.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks, which cause decay in teeth by allowing bacteria to produce acid that dissolves enamel.
- Avoid tobacco products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco, which decrease blood flow to the gums and make them more susceptible to disease.
Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups on any potential problems with your teeth or gums, such as cavities or gum disease.