To understand what a dead tooth is, you must first understand how a tooth “lives” within the mouth. Each tooth is firmly attached within the jaw bone and is sustained by nerves and blood vessels that carry the necessary blood flow and nutrients needed to help it survive. Just like every other area of the body, the teeth require a constant access to the blood flow in order to survive. A dead tooth is one that no longer has access to a constant blood supply.
All teeth are made up of three different layers: the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. The pulp and the dentin layer are made up of tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. These inner layers provide life to the teeth, while the enamel is the hard substance that protects the inner layers. When damage is done that causes the pulp and/or dentin layers to lose their blood supply, then a tooth will lose its vitality and will eventually die if proper treatment is not provided.
Trauma or injury to the mouth is one of the most common causes of a dead tooth. A blow to the face or mouth can cause a tooth to be torn from its socket or completely knocked out of the mouth. If the pulp of the tooth is damaged to where the blood supply is immediately cut off from the tooth (as when a tooth is knocked out of the mouth), a tooth can die almost instantly. Seeking immediate dental care is essential for any hope of restoring the tooth and reconnecting it to its blood supply.
Cavities and infections that have been ignored and have not received proper treatment are the other main causes of a dead tooth. When decay and infection reach the inner layers of a tooth, they will cause so much damage that the tooth cannot sustain itself. The blood vessels will be severed from decay and the tooth will die.
Dead teeth most often present themselves with signs and symptoms before they actually die. A serious trauma is typically the only immediate cause of a dead tooth. However, cavities and decay happen over time, and with proper oral hygiene and intervention the tooth can be restored.
If you are worried that you have a dead tooth or you have received trauma to your mouth, please contact Pacific Sky Dental right away. Our practice is committed to providing exceptional comprehensive dental care to all patients. We are dedicated to restoring the health of your mouth.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Raymond Jone, Pacific Sky Dental
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