In the simplest terms, a tooth is dead when it no longer has access to blood flow.
Your teeth are made up of three layers; enamel, the hardest substance in the human body; dentin, the softer layer under enamel; and pulp, the innermost area of your tooth that carries nerves and blood supply that keep it alive and healthy.
Causes of a Dead Tooth
The two primary reasons a tooth dies is tooth decay or dental trauma.
Tooth decay – When decay is not treated, it continues to penetrate the tooth until it reaches the pulp or nerve, causing it to die. Your immune system is trying to rid your body of the bacteria in the cavity, but all it does is cut off the blood supply to the tooth and kill the pulp.
Dental trauma – A hard blow against a tooth during sports or other activities can result in a dead tooth. The trauma severs the blood supply at the tip of the root causing the pulp to die.
The most common symptoms of a dead tooth are severe pain and a change in the tooth's color.
Treating a Dead Tooth
There are two ways we can address a dead tooth:
Root canal – This is the best solution because we can remove the decayed pulp, treat the infection, and leave the tooth intact. It is always better to preserve natural tooth structure, and after the root canal procedure, we can protect the tooth and restore function with the addition of a dental crown.
Extraction – We will do everything we can to save the structure of the tooth, but if the tooth can't be treated with a root canal, removing it may be our only option to protect your oral health.
Call Your Dentist in Vienna, VA to Learn More
Do you have a toothache or have you noticed a change in your tooth? Please call Tysons Dentistry so we can evaluate your situation. The sooner we see you, the better chance we have of saving the tooth and restoring your oral health.