Dead Tooth: What are your options?

Dead Tooth: What are your options?

A dead tooth not only sounds unpleasant but can also cause pain and discoloration. Fortunately, while reviving a dead tooth isn’t possible, you can still make it white again. In this article, we explore the causes, explain the discoloration, and discuss solutions for the problem.

Causes of a dead tooth

A dead tooth occurs due to the death of the tooth nerve, which can have various causes:

  1. Tooth Decay (Caries):
    • Untreated cavities can penetrate the enamel layer and reach deeper tooth layers, eventually affecting the pulp and nerve of the tooth. This can stop blood flow, leading to nerve death and a dead tooth.
  2. Tooth Trauma:
    • An injury, such as from a fall or chronic teeth grinding, can cut off the blood supply to the tooth, causing the nerve to die over time.

Symptoms of a dead tooth

Suspect you have a dead tooth? Look for symptoms like tooth pain and discoloration.

  • Tooth pain:
    • Even though a dead tooth is numb, the process of nerve death can be painful. Bad bacteria can feed on dead tissue in the tooth, potentially leading to an infection or abscess.
  • Tooth discoloration:
    • The tooth may turn gray, blue, or even black. As the tooth nerve dies, red blood cells are released, causing discoloration. Initially, the color change is minor, but the tooth darkens if left untreated.

Leaving a dead tooth untreated?

You can leave a dead tooth untreated and then bleach it, but quick action is necessary. If an infection occurs, it can spread to the tooth root and even the jawbone within a few days. Bleaching a dead tooth without treatment is not advisable.

How long does a dead tooth last?

Once dead, a tooth can last for years. However, it is always wise to treat a dead tooth to remove the dead tissue and prevent infection.

Removing a dead tooth?

If your dead tooth cannot be saved, it may need to be extracted and replaced with a bridge or implant. Fortunately, a dentist may still be able to treat your dead tooth.

Treating a dead tooth

The treatment for a dead tooth is a root canal treatment or endodontic therapy. The dentist addresses the infection and removes the tooth nerve.

Can you whiten a dead tooth?

If the dentist has managed to save your tooth, that’s great news, but you still have the discoloration to deal with. The dentist can bleach your dead tooth, but this comes with risks. Bleaching can make the tooth whiter, but color differences may still occur. Additionally, bleaching does not protect against tooth breakage, which is something that de-vitalized teeth are especially prone to.

Appearance matters!

Fortunately, you can get veneers (a crown) to make your dead tooth white again. Veneers are preferred for de-vitalized teeth as they provide good protection against fractures. Moreover, the color difference with your other teeth is minimal because you can choose the color of the veneer yourself.

Want to quickly get rid of your discolored tooth? Feel free to visit us for a consultation.

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