Our teeth are vital to our overall health, yet poor oral hygiene is incredibly common. One possible side effect of poor oral hygiene is the death of your teeth. Now you wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t think of your teeth as living parts of your body. The truth is that blood vessels and nerves do travel up the soft centers of your teeth. As a result, they’re considered a living part of your body, and it is possible for them to “die” if the nerve or blood vessels are damaged beyond repair. So, is your tooth dead?

Is My Tooth Dead?

Symptoms of a dying tooth can vary, so you will need to visit your Burbank dentist to be certain. However, there are several common symptoms that are likely to indicate a serious problem, even if it’s the imminent death of the tooth. If a tooth appears to be discolored, not on the white to yellow spectrum, then this could be a sign of significant decay or death. Pain in the area may also indicate that the nerve of the tooth is being harmed. Direct trauma or an infection are the most likely causes. That being said, not everyone experiences both of these symptoms.

Diagnosing Tooth Death

As long as you’re seeing your dentist once every six months, you’re unlikely to face the reality of serious tooth decay. However, trauma to the mouth or missed appointments could leave you wondering if your teeth are in danger of dying. If you have a severe trauma to your mouth, it is always a good idea to pay your dentist a visit just in case, but normal, everyday tooth decay can be a bit sneakier.

Tooth death is typically diagnosed through a physical exam and x-rays. Depending on the severity of the damage to the exterior of the tooth, your dentist may strongly suspect damage to the blood vessels or nerve, but they will need an x-ray to confirm their suspicions. The x-ray will display the extent of the damage and highlight the affected parts of the tooth. This information will be used to determine what treatment options are available to you.

Treating Tooth Death

There are two treatment options for a dying tooth: a root canal and an extraction. As long as part of the tooth is still salvageable, you can have a root canal in Burbank. The procedure is fairly straightforward. Your dentist will make a small hole in your tooth to provide an access point. From there they will carefully clean out the infected pulp. Once the infection has been removed, your dentist will fill the remaining cavity. You may need to have a crown placed over the damaged tooth for additional support, but this isn’t always necessary.

Unfortunately, if the blood vessels and nerves are too badly damaged, your only choice may be an extraction. As unpleasant as it may sound, it’s important to remove the infected tooth at your earliest convenience before it has a chance to spread to the surrounding teeth. Luckily, there are many tooth replacement options that will have you eating and smiling normally in no time.

Preventing Tooth Death

Some patients who haven’t yet experienced serious decay or traumatic damage. For them, preventing tooth death is as easy as following a regular oral hygiene routine and attending your bi-annual dental appointments. Do you have any concerns regarding your regular oral hygiene habits?  Thendon’t hesitate to speak with the staff at your Coastland Dental office. They can walk you through the proper brushing and flossing techniques to make sure your teeth feel and look like new.