Dead Tooth

Teeth are a living part of the human body. They are made up of hard and soft living tissues. Nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels inside teeth keep them alive. A tooth becomes dead when there is no blood supply to it. A dead tooth may be asymptomatic or has symptoms. A dead tooth must be treated immediately, otherwise, it causes teeth and gum damage. A dead tooth is also called a non-vital tooth or necrotic pulp.

How tooth becomes dead?

A tooth can be dead immediately in case of tooth trauma, or it may die slowly by the growth of bacteria or spread of infection. 

Causes ( Dead Tooth)

A tooth becomes dead owing to several reasons.

  • It can die owing to the damage to the blood vessel due to the falling on the face or other incident
  • Poor dental hygiene also results in tooth decay.
  • If a tooth disease left untreated, it also results in tooth death.
  • Cavities in teeth could also usher in the death of teeth because bacteria grow in the cavities, reach the pulp, infest the pulp, causing inflammation, infection, and finally death of the cells within the pulp. Resultantly, the blood supply is cut off, and teeth become dead.
  • A large filling could also lead to pulp death. This can be occurs owing to the long-term decay, by the process of filling the cavity, or by the transfer of heat or cold to the pulp.

Signs ( Dead Tooth)

Following are the symptoms of a dead tooth,

  • When a tooth gets an injury, the damage to the blood vessel led to discoloration to pinkish color, and then to greyish-brown. A dying tooth looks like it is bruised. 
  • Mild or intense pain, especially from the nerves ending between the outside of the tooth and the tooth socket is also a symptom of tooth decay and death. Pain is owing to the buildup of bacteria and pus in the pulp cavity that puts pressure on the periodontal membrane.
  • Sensitivity to the hot or cold, bad taste in the mouth, bad breath owing to the abscess which releases into the mouth, and swelling of gum are also the signs of a dying tooth.

Diagnosis (Dead Tooth)

Dying may be identified during routine dental visits. It may be diagnosed by x-rays or by checking reasons for discoloration of teeth, pain, or swelling of gums. 

Can a dead tooth stay in a mouth?

A dead tooth should be treated immediately. A dead tooth results in the growth of bacteria and infection in the mouth. This can spread to other teeth, and damage them. Gums can also be infected by dead teeth.

Treatment

Following are the treatment options for the dying or dead tooth.

  • A dead tooth can be removed if it is severely damaged or cannot be restored. After the extraction of a tooth, it can be replaced by an implant, bridge, or denture.
  • If a tooth is not severely damaged or intact, it can be treated by a root canal, filling, or crown to keep it functional. In the root canal, a dentist removes dead pulp and infection from the mouth and then replace it with the plastic-type material by filling the root. A small filling in a tooth is filled by a permanent filling. 
  • Sometimes, a crown is needed following the root canal. A crown is a covering that is molded to a tooth. A tooth is filed so that crown can be fitted properly. It is needed in cases when the tooth enamel is damaged or there is a large cavity in a tooth. A tooth having a root canal may become brittle with time, that’s why a crown is used to protect and strengthen a tooth. 
  • Tooth bleaching is used to treat the teeth discoloration. Other than this, a damaged tooth can also be covered with a porcelain veneer. 
  • Tooth pain can also be managed. It is controlled by 
  • Avoiding hot and cold beverages, because they result in inflammation
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
  • Avoid eating hard things, because the force to bite them hurt damage or dying teeth.

Preventive measures :

Teeth can be prevented from dying 

  • By covering the mouth with the mouth guard during intense exercise and sports activities.
  • By avoiding chewing ice, and opening things with a mouth.
  • By taking care of oral hygiene means brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day.
  • By drinking plenty of water. It helps in washing away bacteria. 
  • By maintaining a balanced diet. A lot of sugary foods, soft drinks, and hot beverages must be avoided.
  • By visiting the dentist once every six months. It can help in preventing dental problems before start. 
  • By avoiding cavities in teeth. Cavities are caused by bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, on the surface of teeth. The bacteria grow because of dry mouth owing to severe medication, eating foods that cling to teeth, and that food that has sugar and caffeine. That’s why, all such food should be used with care to avoid cavities, and then teeth dying.

Essential minerals and compounds for teeth safety

There are also a few foods and minerals that help in preventing teeth damage and death. They include sugar-free gum, vitamin D, fluoride, oil pulling, and licorice root.

  • Sugar-free gum helps in the remineralization of enamel. It contains a compound with the name of casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP). It is an anti-bacterial. 
  • Vitamin D is substantial in absorbing calcium and phosphate in food. Both these minerals have a significant role in teeth strength and protection.
  • Fluoride helps impede cavities, that’s why fluoride toothpaste ought to be used for cleaning teeth.
  • Oils like sesame and coconut can also be used for mouth wash. These oils contain compounds that reduce the number of bacteria, gingivitis, and plaques in the mouth.
  • Licorice roots have chemicals that can combat cavity-causing bacteria.

The bottom line

A tooth becomes dead when it has no blood supply. It is diagnosed either by x-rays or by symptoms like discoloration and pain. It is treated by removing the dead tooth in case of severe damage, and by root canal therapy in case of mild damage. oral hygiene and a balanced diet are helpful preventive measures.

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