Dead Tooth: Signs, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment of Dead Tooth
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By Elite Dental Group

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Our teeth develop from a combination of soft and hard tissues. If they are working correctly in our body, we may assume they are alive. But what if any one of them stops working! There might be signs of a dead tooth. Nerves which are located in the inner layer of a tooth’s pulp get damaged by different causes, such as injury or decay, which limit blood circulation to the tooth. This result in infection and the nerve may stop working permanently. Our teeth are so vital to our overall health that even subsequent pain or a tiny amount of tooth decay can create major distress, especially in such cases where a person doesn’t know where it is coming from.

A tooth can also die due to poor dental hygiene. If cavities are left untreated, they can slowly destroy the teeth’s condition. Cavities form on the enamel that is the outer protective layer of the teeth. If left untreated, they can slowly eat the enamel and threaten the pulp. It can cause the pulp to become infected which cuts off blood to the pulp and causes it to die. There are possible chances of having intense pain once the decay meets the pulp.

Signs Of A Dead Tooth

Signs Of A Dead Tooth
A dead tooth is not easy to identify in the early stages. The intensity of pain generally uplifts when there is an infection. If the infection grows more and reaches to abscess, a person might face different types of symptoms like swelling, foul odor, foul taste or pimple on their gums. One may notice black, yellow or grey discolouration. It usually happens from dying red blood cells that are common to bruising. The discolouration generally increases when the treatment does not take place.

Another possible sign of a dead tooth can be pain. It may happen according to the condition, like some will not feel any type of pain, while others may have mild or intense pain. It is mainly due to the dying nerve and can happen due to infection.

A healthy tooth generally contains a colour of white. However, the shade can vary depending upon the oral hygiene and diet of a person. Like if someone intakes those types of foods which are staining, for example, blueberries, coffee, red wine, or even if they smoke, they might not get the advantage of having a natural white-teeth smile as their colour may change to light yellow or off-white.

Dead Tooth Smell

Dead Tooth Smell
A dead tooth may produce a bad smell because it can cause abscess which drains into the mouth. Thus, we all need to take care of our oral hygiene to avoid different types of dental problems.

Causes Behind A Dead Tooth

Two of the causes which have been stated behind a dead tooth are tooth decay and tooth trauma. The beginning of tooth decay takes place on the furthest layer of the tooth, but over time there can be a presence of cavities that go through into the deeper layers. If such cavities are left untreated, they can meet up the pulp and generate a way for bacteria to reach the tooth and cause the nerve to die. There will be an increase in the pulp due to pressure which will cut off the blood supply, starving the nerve and destroying the pulp which can cause intense pain.

In the case of physical trauma like due to sports injury or a fall, there might be chances for the blood vessels to rupture and the supply of blood to the tooth may be cut off. Due to the absence of blood flow to the tooth, nerve along with other living tissues situated inside the pulp will die.

Diagnosis Of A Dead Tooth

The condition of a dying tooth may be recognized at the time of a dental appointment which contains X-rays. The dentist might notice the presence of a dead tooth where there is a feeling of pain or a person is concern over the discoloration.

When someone experiences a tooth injury or if there have been any signs of a dead tooth, they must not wait to see their dentist. From there the doctor will diagnose the condition and begin the treatment. Basically, two options are there to identify during the condition of a dead tooth. 

Root Canal

One of the good things about a root canal treatment is that it permits the dentist to save the dead tooth instead of having to pull it. One of the aims behind performing a root canal is to eliminate any kind of infection from the tooth and the tooth root. When it is done, the area will be cleaned and sealed so that there should not be any further infection. After that, the tooth will be filled permanently. 

Extraction

One of the relatively easy and painless forms of treatment to extract or remove the tooth is extraction. The dentist may deliver local or general anesthesia depending on the patient’s preference or recommendation of the practitioner. In many cases of extraction, the tooth is gripped tightly and then pulled from the gums. There might be chances to break up the tooth into pieces before removed. 

Dead Tooth Pain Relief

Dead Tooth Pain Relief - i diagnose you with dead tooth
If a person allows a bacterial infection to take place in their teeth, they can leak out from the teeth’s root and start to attack the jawbone. It will result in causing the teeth to fall out anyway. That’s why it is important that a person must not wait for the teeth to remove by its own will as this process is painful and may cause further damage. The risk of losing additional teeth will increase if dental treatment is not acted on in time or by doing such things. If you are facing a lot of pain, some home remedies are there which can be implemented. But it is better to move towards the dentist as soon as possible.

Try to avoid hot beverages as they can increase inflammation and play a role in making the pain worse. There is a need to avoid hard things as the force of biting down on them can aggravate the damaged nerves. One may take the support of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.

Basically, two types of treatment are applied in the case of a dead tooth which can been tooth extraction and root canal treatment. We will talk about the treatment of tooth extraction first.

Tooth Extraction

Tooth Extraction
We all love to have a complete set of our teeth as nobody would want to have them removed. But it may be the last option if the treatment is not taken on time. One of the cheapest, painless and simple procedures that are implemented to treat dead tooth is tooth extraction. However, it may be a bit costly if the tooth is replaced with a dental prosthetic. One should expect to receive either general or local anesthesia, depending upon the recommendation or preference of the surgeon.

In most cases of this treatment, the teeth get gripped tightly and then pulled from the gums. By performing this, the teeth will be broken up into pieces before being removed. After the surgery, the dentist will surely recommend you to take proper rest as the extraction site may bleed. If the pain looks to be a bit intense, try to impose an ice pack which will be helpful in minimizing the pain. The patient also needs to avoid drinking from a straw and stick to soft food for a matter of some days after the procedure.

Dead Tooth Root Canal

Dead Tooth Root Canal
The second popular option available after tooth extraction is root canal treatment. With this treatment, a person will be able to keep their tooth intact. The dentist will take the help of some small instruments in order to clear out the pulp during the procedure. Then he will clean out the infection. Once the cleaning takes place, he will fill and seal the roots. A permanent filling in the small opening will also be placed. The necessity of having a crown is needed in many cases following a root canal. The crown is said to be a covering that is particularly moulded to the person’s teeth. It is considered to be a preferential option especially when the tooth had a large filling or the enamel was damaged.

The tooth which has faced root canal can become brittle. That is why crowns are recommended for posterior teeth due to chewing and grinding. The practitioner will remove the part of the patient’s existing tooth and will fit the crown over it at a permanent basis. A crown can be made to suit the colour of your surrounding teeth in order to look similar.

Pain Management Of A Dead Tooth

Pain is identified as one of the two symptoms in the case of a dead tooth. The pain might be irritating minimally to absolute unbearable. This can be due to the infection and swelling inside the tooth which pulls the pressure on the periodontal membrane, which is the sensitive tissue around the teeth’ base.

 

Regarding pain management, some tips can help a person to reduce pain during a dead tooth-like avoiding hot beverages as they can amplify inflammation that can make the pain worse. A person can take help from some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications suggested by their dentist. Along with that, there must not be an attempt in eating hard things. It is because the force of biting down on them can worsen the damaged nerves. Don’t rely on home-based treatment instead of a professional one as the problem can take a big face which can’t be handled without a dental surgeon. 

How Long A Dead Tooth Can Stay In The Mouth?

Many people don’t have an idea regarding teeth that they are alive as they receive blood flow. But sometimes there can be a condition where the nerves situated in the pulp become damaged due to situations like injury or decay. This happening can prevent the supply of blood to the tooth. If there is an existence of an infection, it will cause the nerve to die and thus dead tooth will take place.

A dead tooth, in simple words, can be described as a condition when it stops receiving the blood flow. Non-vital tooth has been said to be another name for this condition. People would have a query regarding how to identify the presence of a dead tooth. Remember, one of the symptoms in this condition can be discoloration. Even there might be a feeling of pain in the gums and teeth. If someone indulges in good oral hygiene and takes a healthy diet, their teeth will remain whiter. And if someone feels discoloration due to a dead tooth, there can be a different color than the rest of the other.

Talking about how long can a dead tooth survive in the mouth of a person, remember trauma or an injury can lead the tooth to die. In such conditions, the tooth may die quickly or can take a matter of some days. Even it can approach a slower rate by which there are chances to become die in some months or years. That’s why if someone wants to save their teeth from such situations, they need to follow good dental hygiene and make sure to visit the dentist for a regular check-up. Ask for those measures that can prevent your teeth from different oral conditions and if required, make sure to seek treatment.

 Top 7 Tips To Prevent A Dead Tooth

  1. One of the essential things for preventing a dead tooth is to engage in good dental habits and oral hygiene. This can be done with the help of daily flossing and brushing which will keep the particles from settling in the gum line and causing decay.
  1. Another thing is to deliver essential minerals and vitamins to the teeth as they are alive. That’s why try to have a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables that will produce essential nutrition to the teeth. 
  1. Those who are active in sports like boxing, football or hockey, etc. need to consider mouth guards as it can protect them from reducing or eliminating mouth injuries. 
  1. Always keep one thing in mind that healthy gums and teeth are vital for the overall health of a body. That’s why if there is a presence of any infection in the teeth, there might be severe effects on the rest of the body. So try to deliver special care to your oral health.
  1. For saving yourself from the above topic, one of the good ideas is to visit the dentist regularly and have an oral dental exam so he could diagnose the condition and identify whether any kind of infection has taken place.
  1. Try to make sure the sticky things or other food particles must not remain in the mouth for a longer time. If you aren’t able to brush, simply rinse the mouth with clean water and eliminate the tiny particles that have taken place in the teeth. 
  1. There are no guaranteed measures that can avoid a person to have a dead tooth, but with the help of some preventative measures, a person can go a long way in reducing its risk

What To Expect When Someone Faces The Condition Of A Dead Tooth?

If someone has been put in a situation where the tooth has stopped receiving the blood flow (dead tooth), there might be an occurrence of different conditions. One of the things will be a change in the color of their teeth. The tooth which is dying may transform into colors like gray, light brown, yellow or black. The appearance of discoloration will amplify as the time passes and the tooth carries on decaying and the nerve dies. 

There might be an experience of pain in the teeth or gums as well. However, this can’t happen to anybody having a dead tooth. But some people may feel mild or intense pain. The reason behind pain is the dying nerve or due to infection. Some other symptoms of infection may include bad breath, swelling around the gum line or bad taste in the mouth. Remember, consulting a dentist in such situations become vital as he can inspect the condition and provide suitable treatment to the patient.

FAQ’s

Q.1. What happens if you have a dead tooth?

When somebody gets a dead tooth, their specific tooth will stop receiving blood flow. Their nerves will act like being dead or dying in the pulp. Once this condition takes place, the tooth will eventually fall out by itself. Though, it has been said to be hazardous for this to happen. It is because the tooth can turn out to be infected, affect the jaw and other teeth. The identification of a dead tooth is not so easy. The dentist will be the person to diagnose the condition. When a dead tooth takes place, there can be a presence of some symptoms like pain and discoloration.

The tooth which is about to die or being dead may have a varying level of pain and sometimes enormously painful. One of the reasons why pain is elevated is due to the dying nerve or an infection. The second thing is about discoloration. As the tooth reacts to be dead, it will change its color and get darker. The discoloration may be gray, yellow or black. One of the reasons behind the change in color will take place when it goes untreated. That’s why if someone faces the condition of a dead tooth and it has been identified, they must not wait to visit the dentist.

Q.2. Why do my teeth keep breaking?

One of the strongest substances in our body is known as the enamel. It proves to be a tough and outer covering of our teeth. But it also contains some limits. When there comes a vigorous blow or extreme wear and tear, it may cause the teeth to the chip by which there can be a jagged tooth surface reacting sharp, tender or disfigured. One of the reasons why chipped teeth can take place contains falls or accidents, playing contact sports in the absence of mouth guards, teeth grinding especially during sleep, and biting down hard substances.

If there is a presence of tooth decay or cavities, they can eat away the enamel. Even when a person takes a lot of acid-generating foods like coffee, fruit juices, and spicy foods, there are chances to break down the enamel and leave the teeth’s surface to be exposed. Sugar is one of the reasons as it generates bacteria in the mouth and bacteria can attack the enamel. Those who contain a habit of alcohol are at risk along with the one having eating disorders as they can bring frequent vomiting that can generate enamel-eating acid. Some other risk factors for chipped teeth include acid reflux or heartburn and two digestive conditions.

Q.3. Can a dead tooth kill you?

Well, some people will find this answer strange. But it has been said that an infected tooth can kill a person. There was a case in which a twelve-year-old boy died because bacteria from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain. According to studies, there have been different cases where people have to visit an emergency room due to dental problems.

If someone wants to know whether the tooth is dead or not, they can simply put an ice cube directly on the tooth. If there comes a feeling of cold in that particular tooth which the person is concerned, then it isn’t dead because a dead tooth doesn’t have a feeling. If someone’s tooth doesn’t comprise of feeling and isn’t discolored yet, they need to make an appointment with the dentist with an immediate effect. It is because a dead tooth tends to discolor at some point due to living nerves and blood inside the tooth die and no longer deliver oxygen and fresh blood to the tooth. Don’t try to let the condition worsen when the thing is about your health. As we have mentioned an example of a 12-year-old boy, there can be some impacts on other body parts due to severe problems in the mouth.

Q.4. Can you live without a dead tooth?

Surely a person can live without a dead tooth. But there are some of the things which need to identify regarding its treatment. There are two major and effective options useful to treat the cases of a dead tooth, namely extraction and root canal. The extraction will prove to be a nice option when a tooth has been left untreated for a longer period and also proves to be the least expensive method. When extraction takes place, people can use dentures or implant after it.

The second option, root canal treatment proves to be a bit expensive. But one of its advantages is that it can prevent a tooth from dying in some cases. If there is an existence of a dead tooth, this option can eliminate the infection and protect the tooth so there should be no requirement to remove it. One of the important things is to take care of the teeth as they are alive. If there is a feeling of pain and someone has discolored tooth, even if there is any other sign and the teeth are delivering a problem, try to visit the dentist as soon as possible. The more a person waits, there could be added expenses to the dentist’s trip.

Q.5. Will a tooth root comes out on its own?

 A tooth that has been dead will loosen and fall out on its own. Though, we aren’t suggesting the readers wait for this condition to happen. The procedure proves to be tender and there can be a presence of some serious complications like infection entering the bloodstream. The tooth may fall out but it will leave the root in the gums. In such cases, the dentist is required to treat the condition which is suitable for the patient. 

Two of the things by which the condition of a dead tooth can happen are tooth decay and tooth trauma. Talking about tooth decay, it proves to be one of the most common reasons behind a dead tooth. If there is an infection of bacteria, isn’t treated rapidly and arrives at the nerve or pulp of a tooth, there are chances for the tooth to die. The next thing is about tooth trauma that can happen due to an outcome of a sports injury, for example, being hit on the mouth. Even if children fall on their teeth, their roots can also be killed. When this condition takes place, the blood supply at the root’s tip is compromised and result in pulp dying.

Q.6. What does a dead tooth feel like?

A person might experience the feeling of pain in tooth and gums. Some people don’t feel any pain, but others may have milder or intense pain. The reason behind pain is due to the dying nerve and can also be caused by infection. Bad taste in the mouth, swelling around the gum line and bad breath are known to be some other signs of infection. A tooth will be called dead when it doesn’t receive a fresh blood supply by which problems like discoloration can happen. In normal cases, healthy teeth have a color of white. However, it can vary depending on oral hygiene and the diet of a person. If someone has a tooth which is discolored due to it is dying, there will be a presence of different color as compared to the rest of other teeth. Some of the expected colors are light brown, yellow, gray or even black. The discoloration will increase as the nerve dies and the tooth carries on decaying. If someone wants to protect them from the condition of a dead tooth, they need to be serious about their oral health and it will save them from other problems as well.

Q.7. Can a dead tooth come back to life?

When the pulp gets infected or injured and becomes unable to repair itself, it dies. One of the common causes behind pulp death contains a deep cavity, a cracked tooth, and a physical trauma. Two of the procedures, extraction and root canal treatment are available for treating the dead tooth. With the help of extraction, the tooth will be removed permanently. Regarding root canal treatment, the teeth will not be eliminated from the mouth.

Though root canal treatment contains a high success rate, one of the things is that it still leaves a dead tooth in the mouth. But, as the inventions are taking place in this advanced world, scientists are making the development of a nano-sized dental film that may convey the diseased teeth back to its life. They have united a substance known as a melanocyte-stimulating hormone, also known as alpha-MSH, that contains anti-inflammatory properties, with an extensively used polymer to develop a material that fights inflammation in cells in the dental pulp. Nano-films having a presence of alpha-MSH can assist in revitalizing the damaged teeth and even lessen the requirement for a root canal treatment which proves to be a better option for many people.

Q.8. Will a decayed tooth eventually fall out?

If there is a presence of decay to spread in the tooth’s center and there is an infection or inflammation, root canal treatment may be required. At that time, the dentist will eliminate the infected nerve and pulp, and then fills and seals the space. Talking about a child having a rotten baby tooth which isn’t able to be fixed with a dental filling, a person may feel unnecessary to perform a root canal on it since it isn’t a permanent tooth.

However, a decayed tooth will fall out naturally on its own, but a sensible dentist will recommend the person to take help from the root canal to prevent premature loss of the tooth. If the tooth has been fallen out in an early stage because of decay, there might be an existence of misalignment of the permanent teeth. In order to know more about your condition, you can consult your queries with the dentist as he will diagnose the condition first and then deliver information. With the help of their assistance, you’ll be able to decide what are the next steps to perform for the betterment of your oral health.

Q.9. Why is my tooth black?

Some people have a color of white on their teeth, where some experience discoloration. A tooth can take different colors, out of which black teeth can be an indication of an underlying decay or cavities which require to be addressed with an immediate effect. Another reason behind black teeth can be identified as staining as various foods and drinks are there by which a bit of pigment is left, causing the teeth to turn black. Some of the extrinsic causes behind black teeth include a buildup of tartar, stains, and damage to the enamel. Acquiring tobacco, having crowns and fillings made up of silver sulfide, using certain mouth rinses and toothpaste, taking certain medications like liquid iron supplements, and frequently eating or drinking a dark food product like coffee stands for some of the direct causes behind staining. Remember, a tooth can change its color from white to black if it has been damaged from inside. Decay and cavities are known to be the popular reasons that bring the condition of black teeth. The damage initiates from inside and their comes onto the surface. There can be some spots to identify in teeth during the initial time. After that, the entire tooth can be covered if the treatment isn’t delivered on time.

Conclusion

Good oral health proves to be an important part of everybody’s life. Some people take it seriously, while there are so many people who have to face different dental problems. Our suggestion to the readers will be to live with healthy oral hygiene and brush at least twice a day for around two to three minutes. Make sure to rinse the mouth after some time of completing the meal. Adopt those measures which help strengthen the life of your teeth. You can also manage to floss the teeth once in a day. Try to limit the consumption of sugar, sticky items and foods that aren’t favorable to your teeth’s health. Instead, you can manage to eat those things that are healthy and good not only for the teeth but entire health as well.

Conditions like a dead tooth can be managed if a person keeps a strict eye on its oral health. However, some options are available to treat this condition. But, there must be an attempt not to let that happen. Still, if you have any queries, you can consult it with a dentist. If possible, make a habit to visit their office at least twice in a year for a regular check-up so if there is a suspect of any problem, he could identify and treat on time.

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