A dead tooth or a vital tooth is the one that has no access to blood flow. Human teeth are made up of three layers including, the enamel, dentin, and pulp. The nerve fibres and blood vessels are located in the pulp. A dead tooth is nothing but a dead pulp. When you have a dead tooth, you cannot do anything so you have to extract it.
Causes of a Dead Tooth
A dead tooth can be caused due to various reasons. However, the two known causes of a dead tooth are tooth trauma and tooth decay.
Tooth Trauma –
Generally, tooth trauma is caused due to falls, sports injuries, assault, severe grinding, and any other form of physical knock on the tooth. In case of tooth trauma, the blood supply to the root of the tooth can be severed and can cause the tooth pulp to die. To prevent such dental problems or injuries, sports mouth guard or gum shields are recommended.
Tooth decay – If any bacterial infection or tooth cavity is left untreated, it can get near the nerve or the pulp and cause the nerve to die. This is often caused due to the inflammatory response of the healthy pulp that is trying to get rid of the bacteria in the cavity. However, it is only capable of choking the blood vessels by increasing the pressure inside the pulp. This causes the pulp to die.
Signs of a Dead Tooth
It is not simple to identify a dead tooth only by looking at it. If you visit a dentist regularly, the dentist can spot the signs of a dead tooth or a non-vital tooth. Some signs of a dead tooth are:
The tooth pain can vary from non-existent or mild to severe, if the nerve is dying or if the infection has caused a tooth abscess. If you have a tooth abscess, you will experience swelling, bad taste, bad smell, or a pimple on the gum. Only a dentist will be able to tell you if this is a symptom of a dead tooth. The dead tooth will slowly loosen up and fall off due to the destruction of the surrounding bone caused because of the infection.
Tooth darkening –
If your tooth changes color from yellow to grey to black, it is a sign of a dead tooth. The discoloration happens due to “bruising” from the dying blood cells. This tooth darkening does not go away by itself, so, you should take help from your dentist to fix this.
When you know the causes of a dead tooth, you will be able to prevent a dead tooth. Also, if you notice any signs of a dead tooth, you should immediately consult your dentist to prevent potential dental problems.