Harlow Dental Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
A Great Dentist
girl during a cosmetic dentistry exam in charlotte nc

What Does It Mean When a Tooth Is Dead?

July 31, 2018
Posted By: Dr. H. Justin Harlow, DDS
image of a tooth in charlotte nc

A dead tooth is precisely what the name implies: a tooth that is no longer living. If you suspect you have one, it’s crucial to seek treatment immediately.

Dr. Justin Harlow, your dentist in Steele Creek, has the following to say about what you should do if you have a dead or dying tooth.

Definition of a Dead Tooth

When the pulp—the living portion inside your tooth—dies, its blood supply has been cut off for whatever reason. Even though there is no longer a living nerve inside the tooth, it is still susceptible to infection, which is one reason why it’s so important to see the dentist if you think you might have a dead tooth. It is never wise for the dead or dying tooth to be left untreated.

Causes of a Dead Tooth

Sometimes the reason behind a tooth dying is difficult to determine, but here are some of the more common reasons:

  • Trauma—If you are in a car accident or have a sports injury, the trauma of the injury can cause the blood supply to your tooth to stop after blood vessels burst. Try wearing a mouth guard when playing sports for added protection.
  • Tooth Decay—If a cavity goes untreated, it can continue to grow until it penetrates all the way down to the tooth root. Eventually, the blood supply to the tooth is cut off. Keep up your oral hygiene! 

Signs of a Dead Tooth

You can’t always tell if a tooth is dead just by looking at it, although in many cases, it will turn a darker color. There are usually other signs of a dead tooth such as an unpleasant odor or swelling. Surprisingly, pain is often associated with a dead tooth.

Treatment Options for a Dead Tooth

In some cases, extraction might be the best option, but sometimes the tooth can be preserved with a root canal. This way, the tooth still functions normally as long as the root is still intact. Because the tooth structure becomes brittle, a dental crown can strengthen the tooth, so it is functional again.

If you think you might have a dead tooth, don’t hesitate to reach out to Harlow Dental, your dentist in Steele Creek. We can offer treatment advice and ensure that you continue to enjoy good oral health. Call us today!

If you have difficulty using our website, please email us or call us at (704) 588-1515
View the ADA Accessibility Statement