When you hear reference made to a dead tooth, you may think that it’s in regard to a new horror film. Unfortunately, it’s a very real condition that is best to be avoided. But if it happens, it’s good to know what symptoms to be on the lookout for. You can also feel secure in knowing that your dentist in Brookfield has methods to either restore your tooth or remove the problem completely. Learn more about this as you continue reading.
What is a Dead Tooth?
A dead tooth is one that no longer has proper blood flow to it, and without blood it’s missing the vital nutrients that keep it healthy. There are three layers to the tooth:
- Enamel – This is the hard, outer portion of the tooth that you can see. It serves as the main surface that protects the tooth from bacteria.
- Dentin – Beneath the enamel lies the much softer dentin, which serves as the last line of defense to protect the precious inner area of the tooth called the pulp.
- Pulp – The pulp contains all the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels and canals. When the vital tissues in this area have become infected and begin to decay, the health of your entire tooth is compromised. Thus, the tooth is considered ‘dead.’
Symptoms of a Dead Tooth
You may have a dead tooth in your mouth if you experience either of these symptoms:
- Pain – Although your tooth is dead or dying, it can still cause significant pain from the pressure that the infection puts on the membrane surrounding the roots of your tooth. This can cause painful sensations to radiate through the gums and even throughout your jaw.
- Change in Color – Another symptom to be on the lookout for is a change in the color of your tooth. A dead tooth will typically get darker, appearing yellow, gray or black. This is a result of the absence of a healthy blood supply.
What Can be Done?
There are two main ways to address a dead tooth – root canals in Brookfield or tooth extractions – explained below:
- Root Canal – If you have enough healthy material left, your dentist will be able to perform a root canal procedure to restore your tooth. This involves making an incision in the tooth and then removing the decayed tissue in the pulp, then cleaning, filling and sealing it.
- Tooth Extraction – If there isn’t a sufficient amount of material remaining, your only option may be a tooth extraction in Brookfield. Your dentist will numb the area and then remove the tooth. Unfortunately, this will leave an empty space which could lead to your other teeth shifting over time. Thus, if you have an extraction, it’s best to talk to your dentist about ways to replace it.
Death is never fun, nor is it desired. So to prevent your tooth from decaying, be sure to practice excellent oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day to remove harmful bacteria.
If you find yourself suffering from any of the above symptoms, though, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist to schedule an appointment.
About the Author
A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Dr. Brandon A. Brunner has been practicing dentistry for over 15 years. In addition to general dentistry, his focus is endodontics, oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Brunner practices at Elmbrook Family Dental and can be reached for more information through his website.