How to identify and treat a dead tooth

Teeth play a vital role in your overall health as well as personality. They are made up of hard and soft tissue, you may not realize the teeth as living but you can relate to the fact that healthy teeth are alive and even a small amount of tooth decay followed by pain can cause serious distress, especially when you can’t even pinpoint where the pain exactly coming from. It is easy to identify cavities or other dental issues, but a dead tooth can’t be recognized in early stages, so it’s advisable to visit the dentist time to time before the problem gets worse.

What is a dead tooth?

When the nerves inside the tissue, an inner layer of the tooth get damaged by any injury or decay they stop transferring blood to the tooth which can result in an infection or cause the nerve to die then the tooth becomes a dead tooth. Basically, when there’s no blood flow in the tooth they are referred to as ‘dead’ or a ‘non-vital tooth.’ A tooth has three layers – enamel, dentin, and pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels, a dead nerve inside the tooth is referred to as a necrotic pulp or pulpless tooth. The tooth eventually falls out by itself in such scenarios but that can be dangerous because that can affect the gums and other teeth too. If you require dental care, you can get rid of plaque with a general dentist in concord or treat your dead tooth.


The major symptoms of a dead tooth are pain and infection.

A dead tooth can lead to the pain which can be fluctuating from almost non-existent to extremely painful. People wonder why they experience pain if the nerve is already dead, they don’t realize the pain is coming from the periodontal membrane which is extremely sensitive nerve endings. The bacteria or dead nerve fragments or pus builds up in the pulp cavity and starts putting pressure on the periodontal membrane, which can be the reason for immense pain. There are few other symptoms for infection such as swelling, change in color, bad taste or smell. Death tooth color generally gets darker or you may notice yellow, Gray, or black discoloration because the red blood cells are dying as a result of the delay in treatment.

The symptoms are not easily recognizable and it’s not easy to identify a dead tooth just by looking at it. Only a dental professional can do that for you, that’s why a regular visit to the dentist is recommended.


Tooth decay

It starts from the outermost layer of the tooth, but if left untreated it starts causing cavities that penetrates the deeper layers. The untreated cavities eventually reach the pulp and create a way for bacteria to enter the tooth and acts as a stimulator for the death of nerve inside. The healthy pulp has an inflammatory response to the bacteria that tries to fight off the infection, but they can hold it for some time, so be proactive and see a dentist before it’s too late. Otherwise, the infection increases the pressure inside the pulp cutting off the blood supply, affecting the nerve, and killing the pulp.

Tooth trauma

Tooth trauma is another reason for the dead tooth if there is physical trauma to the tooth from an outside source such as sports injury or a fall. The blood vessels can burst, affecting the blood supply and as there is no blood flowing to the tooth, the nerve and other tissues inside the pulp can die.


Removal or extraction

The extreme condition if your tooth is severely damaged and can’t be restored then your dentist will recommend removal of the dead tooth, to save the life of another healthy tooth. During this procedure, the dentist will completely remove the tooth which can be later replaced with an implant, denture, or bridge.

Root canal

A root canal is a better option than the extraction of the tooth says this dentist in Raleigh. you will be able to keep your tooth intact. The dentist generally makes an opening into the tooth and then uses different small instruments to remove the pulp and clean the infection. There will be no further pain or infection because the sensitive part of the tooth, the roots are already removed, only the teeth are there. Once the process is completed, the dentist will fill and seal the roots while putting a permanent filling in the opening.

In some cases, the dentist suggests for a crowning, following a root canal. As the name suggests, a crown is a covering that’s specifically molded in your tooth. Dentist files the part of your existing tooth and then permanently fit the crown above the tooth. Crown is made especially matching the color of your surrounding teeth so that it does not look odd. Crowning is recommended if the enamel of the tooth is damaged or if it had a large filling. But if your doctor says you don’t need crowning than trusting him and if there is any discoloration issue consult him again.

Pain management

If you are going through extreme pain in the tooth while waiting for the treatment, you can do a few remedies to feel better. Avoid hot beverages and hard foods, as they can increase the inflammation, worsen the damaged nerves and increase the pain. If pain is unbearable go for anti-inflammatory medication and sees your dentist immediately.

Tips for prevention

Prevention is a cure, however preventing a dead tooth isn’t always easy, but there few steps you can do to reduce the risk.

Brush your teeth twice a day & practice good oral hygiene.

Visit the dentist once every six months. Preventative dental care can help in stopping the problems before they start. Your dentist can easily identify early symptoms of tooth decay and start the treatment on time before the decay reaches your pulp.

A healthy diet is a must for a healthy body and healthy tooth too. Avoid excess sugar intake, sugar increases the risk of tooth decay. Drink lots of water, it can help in washing away the bacteria from your teeth between brushing.