All You Wanted to Know About Dead Tooth

All You Wanted to Know About Dead Tooth

Even though it might not seem like it, your teeth are alive and change over time. Your teeth are made of living tissue that is affected by how well you take care of them, what you eat and drink, and the genes you got from your parents.

Your teeth can get sick just like any other part of your body. If a tooth gets hurt enough, it can become a “dead tooth,” which is also sometimes called a “black tooth.” When the living tissue in your tooth dies and starts to decay, this happens.

A dead tooth could be painful, change color, or smell bad. If you don’t treat it, it could hurt your health and cause other parts of your body to get sick. A dead tooth can also make you feel bad about yourself and less happy about your smile.

A dead tooth is a major dental problem, but there are inexpensive ways to treat the infection and stop it from spreading. Here’s how to tell if a tooth is dead, how to keep it from dying, and what you can do to keep a beautiful, healthy smile.

What is a Dead Tooth?

There are four layers of tissue that make up your teeth:

  • Enamel
  • Dentin
  • Cementum
  • Pulp

The pulp, which is the soft tissue inside your tooth, is where the nerves, blood vessels, and connecting tissues live. It’s the most sensitive part of your tooth, so it’s covered by hard enamel to keep it safe.

The inner pulp feeds the rest of the tooth with blood. Your teeth, like every other part of your body, need a steady flow of blood to stay healthy. When that blood flow stops, the tooth starts to get infected and eventually dies.

What Causes a Dead Tooth?

There are two main reasons why a tooth dies: serious tooth decay or damage to the tooth.

Severe Tooth Decay

Bacteria start to eat away at your teeth when sugars from food and drinks stay in your mouth without being cleared by brushing, flossing, saliva, or water. If you don’t take care of them, they can eat away at your teeth’s surface and cause a cavity.

When a tooth is fixed the right way, you get another chance to keep your teeth healthy by doing the right things for your teeth. But if a hole isn’t fixed, the pulp, which is at the center of the tooth, can get infected. If that tissue gets sick enough, it will stop giving the tooth blood, which will kill the tooth.

Physical Trauma

A dead tooth can also be caused by physical damage. If you have an accident, like a car crash or a sports injury, the blood vessels inside your tooth might burst, which would slow down the blood flow to the tooth. When this happens, the tooth can “die.”

Signs of a Dead Tooth

  • Pain 
  • Discoloration
  • Bad breath
  • Foul odor
  • Fever
  • Swollen gums or cheek
  • Swollen lymph nodes

A tooth that has died can hurt. People often say that the pain goes all the way to the gums around the tooth. You might feel pain when you eat something sweet or notice that cold or hot foods bother you.

But you should know that not everyone who has a dead tooth feels pain. Even if your tooth doesn’t hurt, that doesn’t mean it’s still alive.

Changes in color are another sign that a tooth is dead. A tooth that is dead often looks darker than the teeth around it. It could look yellow, gray, or even black. Because the red blood cells are dying, the color of the blood has changed.

A dead tooth could also give you bad smell and/or a bad taste. If you don’t treat the infection, it could even cause your gums, mouth, lymph nodes, or body temperature to rise.

If you visit us (or your local dentist) often, we can see the signs of a tooth that is about to die and treat it so that the tooth doesn’t die. If you already have any of these signs, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible so that the infection can be treated.

Can a Dead Tooth Be Saved?

Even if you have a dead tooth, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. A root canal can save a dead tooth if the problem is caught early enough.

During a root canal treatment, infected tissue is removed from your tooth to stop the infection from spreading to other parts of your body. We always try to save a tooth instead of taking it out at Access Health Dental. When a tooth is dead, we can treat the problem with a root canal instead of pulling the tooth out.

Once the infected tissue has been removed, we will fill and seal your tooth to keep it from getting infected again. We might also put a cap on top of the tooth to protect it even more and make it look and work like it should.

As the wound heals, you might feel some pain and sensitivity for a few days, but after that, you shouldn’t notice any difference. In fact, if a dead tooth was making you feel bad, the root canal should make you feel better.

Taking Out a Dead Tooth

If the tooth is too damaged for a root canal, we may have to take it out so you don’t feel pain or have more problems in the future. If this is the case, your dentist will numb you, pull out the tooth, and maybe put an implant, denture, or bridge in its place.

How to Prevent a Dead Tooth?

Like with any health issue, it’s always better to avoid a problem than to try to fix it.

If you pay close attention to your oral hygiene, you can keep your teeth healthy and avoid getting a dead tooth. Come see us at least twice a year for a cleaning, and if you need a filling, get it done as soon as possible the way your dentist tells you to. Use an electric toothbrush and floss in between dentist visits.

Watch what you eat as well. Good for your teeth foods are also good for your health. Eat a lot of vegetables, lean protein, fruit, and whole grains, and reduce sugars. Especially bad for your teeth are sticky candies like toffee, caramel, and sour gummy candies. Limit how much of these treats you eat, and then make sure to brush and floss well.

Treat Your Dead Tooth Today

If you don’t take care of a dead tooth, the infection can grow until the tooth falls out on its own. No one knows how long this will take, and it can make your mouth problem worse. So, if you have any of the signs or symptoms of a dead tooth, you should make an appointment to come see us.

If you think you might have a dead tooth, you should see a dentist right away. Come see us for a checkup and a plan for how to treat you.

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