When your dentist says you have a dead tooth, it can be shocking and likely cause numerous questions to circle your mind. One of these questions could be, “Can my tooth be saved?” The team at Sunny Family Dental in Chino Hills, California, is here to explain the symptoms of a dead tooth and treatment options.
Your tooth has three layers — enamel, dentin, and pulp. The pulp is the tooth’s centermost part, containing nerves and blood tissues. These nerves can die from infection or injury, leading to a “dead tooth.” Your tooth becomes dead or non-vital if it’s no longer receiving fresh blood supply.
The typical signs of a dead tooth include:
A dead tooth may also cause tooth sensitivity, gum swelling, and a pimple-like bump on your gums. When you spot any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with a dentist to restore your oral health.
A dead tooth, whether by infection or trauma, can’t be saved by a crown or filling alone. Root canal treatment (endodontic therapy) is the only way to save a dead tooth. During a root canal, Dr. Uday Shah accesses your tooth’s pulp by drilling a hole at the topmost part. Then, we remove the diseased pulp, clean the tooth thoroughly, and fill the empty canals with gutta-percha. The final step is to restore your treated tooth with a filling or dental crown.
Since your tooth is fully grown, it no longer needs the blood vessels for nourishment. Your treated tooth functions like a normal tooth, preserving your natural smile and bite.
If you delay treatment for a dead tooth, treatment won’t be viable, and your dentist will not have another choice but to extract your tooth. You don’t have to lose your tooth.