Exactly what is a dead tooth? Signs and symptoms, causes, and treatment

Dead tooth
A defunct tooth could be painfulĀ and change color.
A tooth is called being ‘dead’ when there’s no more any bloodstream flow into it. Sometimes this is referred to as a ‘non-vital tooth.’

Both cavities as well as an injuries may cause a defunct tooth. In the following paragraphs, we consider the common signs and symptoms, in addition to the way a dead tooth may be treatable and avoided.

Exactly what is a dead tooth?

A tooth has three layers – enamel, dentin, and pulp. The pulp provides the bloodstream vessels and nerves.

Dead or dying nerves within the pulp can result in a defunct tooth. A defunct tooth may also no more have bloodstream flow into it.

A defunct nerve inside a tooth may also be known as necrotic pulp or perhaps a pulpless tooth.

Signs and symptoms

It’s not easy to recognize a defunct tooth simply by searching in internet marketing. Merely a dental office can identify it, and that’s why regular journeys towards the dental professional are essential.

You will find, however, two primary signs and symptoms of the dead tooth that will help with self-diagnosis:

  • discomfort
  • alternation in color


A tooth that’s dead or dying can result in a different degree of discomfort, from almost non-existent to very painful. The dying nerve or perhaps an infection usually causes a rise in discomfort.

Many people question why they experience discomfort when the nerve is dead. However, the discomfort isn’t coming from the tooth but from very sensitive nerve endings round the outdoors from the tooth, known as the periodontal membrane.

Bacteria and dead nerve remains, or pus, accumulates within the pulp cavity within the tooth and puts pressure around the periodontal membrane, which could cause immense discomfort.

If there’s contamination, it might become an abscess and convey other signs and symptoms, including:

  • bad taste
  • smell
  • swelling
  • a pimple around the gums

Alternation in color

When the tooth is dead, it’ll frequently get more dark colored, and you might watch a yellow, grey, or black discoloration.

A general change in color usually occurs since the red bloodstream cells are dying. This can be a much the same effect to bruising.

The discoloration will often happen if your dead tooth goes untreated and can increase with time.


There’s two primary reasons for a defunct tooth: cavities and tooth trauma.


Tooth decay dead tooth
Cavities can result in a defunct tooth.

Cavities begins around the outer layer from the tooth, but with time it may cause tooth decay that penetrate in to the much deeper layers.

If these tooth decay remain untreated, they are able to eventually achieve the pulp and make up a path for bacteria to go in your tooth and make the nerve to die.

The healthy pulp may have an inflammatory reaction to the bacteria to protect against the problem, however the white-colored bloodstream cells are only able to hold them back for such a long time.

Pressure within the pulp increases, reducing the bloodstream supply, depriving the nerve, and killing the pulp. This could cause intense discomfort.

Tooth trauma

If there’s an actual trauma towards the tooth, for example from the sports injuries or perhaps a fall, then your bloodstream vessels can burst, or even the bloodstream supply towards the tooth might be stop.

Eventually, because there’s no bloodstream flowing towards the tooth, the nerve along with other living tissues within the pulp will die.


Early management of a defunct tooth is essential. If your microbial infection is permitted to develop, it may proceed to the main from the tooth and begin to fight the jawbone along with other teeth.

Even if an individual isn’t feeling discomfort initially, when they suspect there is a dead tooth they ought to seek medical health advice as it may become very painful.

An X-ray will frequently help a dental professional identify a defunct tooth.

There’s two choices for strategy to a defunct tooth:

  • extraction or removal
  • root canal


When the dental professional is not able to correct your tooth, they’ve already to get rid of it. This really is one good reason why early treatment methods are essential.

Tooth extraction is a straightforward method that is comparatively cheap and painless. Later, a dental professional can switch the tooth having a fixed bridge, implant, or any other prosthetic tooth.

Root canal

Root canal dead tooth
Root canal therapy enables you to treat a defunct tooth.

Dentists avoid removing teeth if possible, so may recommend a root canal first.

Also referred to as endodontics, root canal treatment aims to obvious all infection in the tooth and root. The region will be cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection.

Root canal treatment methods are a extended process, and also the person will most likely need to go to the dental professional more often than once prior to the treatment methods are complete.

When the infection has removed, the dental professional will fill your tooth permanently. A defunct tooth can nonetheless be functional after treatment, as the majority of your tooth continues to be intact.

However, because dead teeth could be more brittle, many people may require a crown fitted, that will provide extra support and strength towards the tooth.


The Dental Health Foundation recommend people consume a routine for dental hygiene:

  • brushing one’s teeth with fluoride tooth paste before going to sleep and a minimum of once again throughout the day
  • cleaning between your teeth with floss or perhaps an interdental brush at least one time each day
  • staying away from sugary drinks and food
  • getting regular dental check-ups

Stopping tooth trauma isn’t necessarily easy, although putting on a gum shield or mouthguard is suggested for those who do certain sports.

Also, an individual should avoid eating ice and opening things using their teeth. Those who grind their teeth during the night might think about a mouthguard to make use of when they sleep too.

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