What Can I Do If I Have a Dead Tooth?

family dentist Gainesville VA

Approximately one in every five Americans has at least one or more untreated cavities. While cavities happen, it’s important to make sure that they’re treated as quickly as possible to prevent further tooth decay. When tooth decay is too advanced, the pulp of the tooth can become injured and infected. This can cause a tooth to die.

But what exactly is a dead or dying tooth? And what can be done to keep the tooth alive? Here, we’ll dive into what it means to have a dead tooth and what you can do if you have one.

What Is a Dead Tooth?

Teeth are alive and functioning, helping you chew your food and fight back against infection. However, when the pulp of your tooth, which contains blood vessels and nerve tissue, becomes infected or injured, it can cut off the blood supply to your tooth. As a result, the tooth dies.

What Causes a Tooth to Die?

There are two main reasons why a tooth might die. The first is decay. Untreated tooth decay that has reached your tooth’s pulp can directly impact the blood vessels and nerve tissue. The infection associated with tooth decay can also cause inflammation, which can cut off blood flow to the tooth.

The other common cause of a dead or dying tooth is damage or trauma. If you’ve been in an accident or been injured and you’ve hurt one of your teeth, that damage can impact the blood flow to that tooth. Over time, your injured tooth can die if there isn’t blood enough blood being delivered to it.

How Do I Know If I Have a Dying Tooth?

There are a few common signs that you have a dying tooth. One sign is discoloration. You may notice that one of your teeth is more yellow or gray than the others around it. If the tooth’s color is changing rapidly, it could be a warning sign that it’s not receiving blood flow like the other teeth.

Another common sign of a dying tooth is pain. Inflammation in the tooth can cause your nerve to be pinched off, which can be very painful. However, some patients may not experience pain at all.

Finally, the third most common sign of a dying tooth is infection. When your tooth is dead, it can’t fight off bacteria. This can put you at greater risk of infection, especially because your tooth’s pulp reaches the root of the tooth. Symptoms of bacterial infection include bad taste, swelling, and bad breath.

Can a Dead or Dying Tooth Be Treated?

It’s crucial to seek immediate treatment for death or dying teeth to reduce the risk of serious infection. An infected tooth can cause an abscess in the gums or jaw bone, which can be dangerous to your health. If you suspect that you have a dead or dying tooth, be sure to reach out to your local dentists in Gainesville VA or the surrounding areas for treatment.

Oftentimes, the best treatments for dead or dying teeth include root canals or extractions. A root canal removes the infected or injured pulp from the inside of the tooth. Your dentist will then cap the tooth with a crown to restore its appearance and function. A root canal may be in your best interest if your tooth still has a strong enough external structure to be saved. However, if the decay or damage to your tooth is too advanced, it may be better to have the tooth extracted.

What Happens If I Need an Extraction?

It’s not uncommon for a damaged or decayed tooth to be extracted. Approximately 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one of their teeth. The good news is that an extraction is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in a single appointment under local anesthesia. Depending on the placement of the tooth, your dentist may recommend a denture or a dental implant to replace the tooth. Dentures and dental implants can help to protect the surrounding teeth from shifting in your jaw.

Make an Appointment With Your Family Dentist

If you suspect that you have a dead or dying tooth, it’s important to reach out to your local family dentist at Gainesville Dental Associates. Our professional and experienced family dentists have the knowledge and skill to treat your teeth and provide you with high-quality dental care. Regular dental visits with a family dentist are essential for preventing infection and tooth decay. To make an appointment with us, contact us at Gainesville Dental Associates today.