Your teeth are incredibly sturdy, especially when it comes to biting down. Tooth enamel is the most abrasion-resistant substance in the human body, followed by bone. Your teeth are powerful, but they don’t grant you superhuman abilities. Teeth, like all living things, are subject to death. It’s not funny if you end up with a dead tooth. A dead tooth is not only unsightly and painful, but it also puts you at risk of developing an infection, developing an abscess, and eventually losing your tooth. As a result, understanding the signs of a dead tooth and when to seek treatment is critical. In this article, Dr. Josh Eastham, your emergency dentist in Grand Junction, explains what you need to know about a dead tooth.
What Does It Mean When You Say You Have a Dead Tooth?
It’s odd to consider a tooth to be defunct. Isn’t your tooth just a piece of enamel that’s attached to your jaw anyway? No, that’s not true. Enamel, dentin, and cementum are the hard outer layers of your tooth. There is, however, a soft, sensitive pulp chamber hidden beneath the armor, alive with nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. This chamber is the heart of the human body.
When the blood supply to your tooth pulp is cut off, it dies just like any other organ in your body. Dental professionals call a non-vital or necrotic tooth when the pulp inside it has died. A dead tooth is any tooth that is no longer vital to your oral health, explains Dr. Chris Green, an emergency dentist in Parker, CO. If you’re experiencing a dead tooth, you’ll need to get treatment right away, so other dental problems don’t arise.
Infection and Dead Teeth
The worst part of a dead tooth isn’t the pulp. The American Association of Endodontists says that as your teeth develop, they require the pulp in order to function properly. Even without the pulp, a tooth can function properly because the surrounding tissues continue to nourish it as it gets older.
However, this does not imply that you should ignore a dead tooth. Dr. Boals, Colorado Springs dentist, adds that living tissues transport white blood cells and other immune cells to the tooth pulp, which helps to keep it healthy on the inside. This pathway is closed off when a tooth falls out. The pulp chamber can become a breeding ground for infection if it lacks these immune cells.
You don’t need me to tell you that having an infection in your mouth is not good. A dead tooth infection, on the other hand, can be particularly problematic. It is possible for the infection to spread to the surrounding bone and gum tissue if it is located deep within your tooth(s). This infection, if left untreated, can lead to an abscess, which is a collection of pus that causes significant discomfort and swelling. A dead tooth, on the other hand, is no laughing matter. But why does a tooth die in the first place?
Dead Tooth Causes
Tooth decay and trauma are the two most common causes of a dead tooth. A cavity or crack in your tooth that is left untreated can allow decay to enter the pulp chamber, causing an infection. The pulp’s blood vessels constrict as a defense mechanism. However, the pulp eventually dies due to a lack of sufficient blood supply.
A sports injury or trauma to the tooth can also cause it to die. The nerves can be pinched, cut off, or damaged if your tooth pushes upward into the bone or is knocked out. As with untreated decay, the pulp dies from lack of blood flow when the tooth’s root’s blood supply is cut off.
A dead tooth may be obvious once it has died, but it doesn’t all happen in one day. Watch out for these warning signs of a dead tooth:
- If you look closely, you may notice a discoloration similar to that of a dead tooth.
- Smell. A dead tooth can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth or an unpleasant odor. Tooth decay or another infection is to blame.
- Inflammation and infection in the pulp cavity or nearby bone are the sources of this pain.
- The presence of a pimple at the gum line indicates the presence of a bone-piercing chronic tooth abscess.
Contact Your Grand Junction Dentist
If you’ve had a tooth injury or think your tooth may be decaying, call your dentist right away. An endodontist or dentist uses a drill to make a hole in the crown of your tooth and remove the dead pulp and root. If there is still a gap, a dental implant, partial denture, or bridge can be used to fill it. To keep a filling in place, your dentist may use a metal or plastic post inside your tooth. Contact High Desert Dental for emergency dental care in Grand Junction, CO.