Most people know what to do to maintain good oral health, but do you know the warning signs of all the dental conditions that could affect you? Having a dead tooth is one of the conditions that you need to educate yourself about so that you can get professional help immediately. In this article, Dr. Fardi Farhat, a dentist in Sterling Heights, MI, explains the causes, signs, prevention, and treatment options for a dead tooth.
Why a Tooth May Die
A tooth is described as non-vital or dead if there is no blood flowing to it. Two significant factors can lead a tooth to die, namely;
When you suffer from tooth decay, you develop cavities. Any untreated cavities can worsen and reach the pulp inside your tooth. The pulp may fight off the resultant infection for a while, but it may eventually become overwhelmed, and the pressure inside the tooth will rise. At this point, the blood vessels supplying the tooth will then become blocked, and your tooth will die.
One or more of your teeth can still die even if you maintain the highest level of oral hygiene. This is because physical trauma, such as during a fall, can cause blood vessels connected to a tooth or teeth to burst, leading to the death of the affected teeth.
Signs That You Have a Dead Tooth
Dr. Fardi Farhat explains that while not all dead teeth will show visible signs that a layperson can identify, there are things you can watch out for. Here are some of those signs.
See a dentist in Sterling Heights, MI if you experience any type of tooth pain regardless of the magnitude of that pain because you could be having a dead tooth. In some people, a dead tooth can cause excruciating pain while the pain may be mild in other people.
A Bad Smell or Taste
Tooth infections can trigger a bad smell or bad taste in your mouth. Sterling Heights dentists caution that people who experience this bad taste or smell in the mouth could be having a dead tooth since the infection causing the smell or taste could have caused an abscess to form in that dead tooth.
Swelling is a common sign of inflammation, and this swelling can soon block blood from flowing to your tooth if the swelling isn’t contained alongside the underlying cause of the swelling. A dead tooth can also cause swelling, mainly when the infection in the tooth spreads to the surrounding areas.
Altered Tooth Color
Dr. Farhat explains that when a tooth is no longer vital, it begins to darken. However, not all dead teeth will show this sign immediately, so see a professional when you notice the other signs discussed earlier.
Treatment Options for a Dead Tooth
If the dentist in Sterling Heights, MI diagnoses you with a dead tooth, you may have to undergo a root canal. During this treatment, the dentist at Dental One Care will remove all the infected pulp and clean out the tooth before filling the dead tooth permanently. This will prevent you from losing that tooth completely.
In some cases, it may not be possible to save the dead tooth by performing a root canal. In such situations, your Sterling Heights dentist may extract the dead tooth and discuss tooth replacement options, such as implants and dental bridges. One of the adverse consequences of a delay to replace a missing tooth is bone resorption (loss of bone density and height due to lack of stimulation for the jawbone in that area).
How to Prevent Tooth Death
Wear a Mouth Guard
While it is hard to predict and forestall many accidents that lead to tooth death, some categories of people can wear mouth guards to protect their teeth from trauma. These include individuals who play contact sports. A custom-made mouthguard will offer more protection than a mass-produced one since customized mouth guards fit better.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
Dr. Fardi Farhat recommends that one of the best ways to prevent your teeth from dying is by sticking to an oral hygiene regime of brushing two times each day and flossing once a day. Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing so that you safeguard your teeth against the action of oral bacteria. Many people find that they have dead teeth resulting from tooth decay, so don’t slack off on oral hygiene.
See Your Dentist Regularly
It is also advisable to see a Sterling Heights dentist every six months for professional cleanings and an annual dental checkup. These visits to Dental One Care will address any dental issues early before those conditions kill your teeth.
While taking the preventive steps above may not guarantee that you will not have a dead tooth, taking the suggested preventive steps will ward off most of the avoidable causes of dead teeth. Dental One Care is here to partner with you on this journey of retaining your beautiful smile. When the worst gets to the worst and a dead tooth has to be extracted, we shall recommend the most suitable replacement options.