What is a Dead Tooth?

Dental Checkup

To understand that a tooth can die you must first understand how it is living. A tooth consists of three layers: the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. While what we see day in and day out is the tooth enamel, it is the inner layers of the teeth that keep them alive. The dentin layer and the pulp of a tooth consist of living tissue, nerves, and blood vessels that give life to the teeth within the mouth. Because all teeth are living tissues connected to the body’s blood supply, damage or serious trauma can literally knock the life out of a tooth.

The two main causes of a dead tooth include a cavity or bacterial infection that has gone untreated and trauma to the mouth. Many people fail to understand the severity of a dental cavity, and this often leads to severe consequences in oral health. Because the tooth is a living organism within the body, infection and decay within a tooth can travel to other areas of the mouth or entire body. As a cavity worsens, the decay will travel deep into the inner layers of the tooth and reach the nerves and blood vessels. As long as the infection goes untreated, it will attack the living tissues inside the tooth until the blood supply is cut off and the tooth dies. A dental infection of this severity will not go unnoticed because of the pain involved; however, some people choose to ignore it out of fear of the dentist. What every dentist wants you to know is that an infected tooth is painful, but treatment is not. In order to prevent a dead tooth, early treatment in the form of root canal therapy can be done. With modern medicine and technology, root canal therapy is not painful and it can restore the health of your mouth.

The second most common cause of a dead tooth is trauma or injury to the mouth. Children are especially prone to receiving a knock to the face, but adults who participate in recreational activities or who are involved in an accident are also susceptible to injury that leads to a dead tooth. When a severe blow to the facial area actually cuts off the blood supply to a tooth, it will typically die instantly. No living tissue within the body can survive without a constant blood supply, and a tooth is no different.

At Green Dental of Alexandria, we are here to help you achieve and maintain the healthiest mouth possible. If you fear that you have a dead tooth due to pain or discoloration, please contact our dental practice right away. With early intervention you tooth may be saved, or if damage or infection has gone too far, we can help you restore your smile.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park, Green Dental of Alexandria

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Green Dental of Alexandria – Alexandria Dentist
1725 Duke St, Suite GR03
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 549-1725