Dead Tooth Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Everyone wants a beautiful smile. Unfortunately, there are dental pathologies that can affect the vitality and brightness of our teeth.

When a tooth is dead (or necrotic), the condition is usually irreversible. In such cases, a root canal is the only way to maintain good oral hygiene.

What symptoms indicate a dead tooth? What should you do if you have one? What treatments are available? The maxillofacial surgeons at Clinique Evoro answer these questions and more in this article!

What is a dead tooth?

A tooth is considered to be dead or necrotic when the cells in the part of the tooth called the pulp are destroyed prematurely. The dental pulp is the innermost part of the tooth. It consists of lymphatic vessels, blood vessels and dental nerves. When this area becomes necrotic, the tooth dies little by little.

A dead tooth cannot be revived and will usually require a dental surgeon to remove the pulp, which is called devitalization.

What causes a tooth to die?

A dead tooth is usually a consequence of physical trauma, chemical damage or infection. These three factors can irreparably damage the dental pulp and cause it to deteriorate. Here are a few examples:

  • A severe cavity in close proximity to the dental pulp: the bacteria can pass through the visible part of the tooth (called the crown) and attack the pulp.
  • Irreversible pulpitis: germs can also infiltrate through the root of the tooth to damage the vessels that supply the pulp.
  • A sudden impact or repeated microtrauma: an impact, even a minor one, or damage from repetitive movements such as bruxism, malocclusion or tooth-related tics can be responsible for dental necrosis.
  • Other causes: dental crowns, posts, composite fillings and dental work near the pulp can sometimes cause damage.

If you believe your tooth may be dead or you are experiencing severe dental pain, contact an emergency dental service without delay. A specialist will be able to identify the problem and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

What are the symptoms of a dead tooth?

A dead tooth does not always present consistent clinical symptoms. It is a condition that evolves gradually. It may first present as throbbing dental pain that develops into a chronic and persistent problem. The tooth may then start to become more opaque and change colour from white to gray or green.

Due to the lack of consistent symptoms, it’s important monitor your teeth carefully and contact an oral health professional if you have any doubts.

Did you know? A toothache can sometimes be related to wisdom tooth pain! It’s best to contact your dentist if you are experiencing oral pain. 😊

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    How to treat a dead tooth

    Treating irreversible dental necrosis requires a root canal to devitalize the affected tooth and prevent the infection from spreading.

    A dead tooth will usually be devitalized under local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. The procedure consists of removing the damaged part of the pulp, disinfecting the inside of the root and consolidating the tooth with an antiseptic paste.

    If pulp necrosis is not treated in time, the infection may spread to the jawbone and cause a dental abscess. If that occurs, the tooth will need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant.

    Trust the Clinique Evoro team to take care of your teeth!

    If you suspect that you may have a necrotic tooth, it’s best to visit an oral health expert without delay. Early diagnosis and treatment could potentially save your tooth. If you’re looking for a dental specialist in the Gatineau area, contact Clinique Evoro. Our dental surgeons will be happy to treat your dental problems and answer any questions you may have.