What Is a Dead Tooth?

Of all the tooth trouble you could be faced with, a dead tooth might sound the most dire by name, and certainly the creepiest. In this blog post, we’ll let you know how to spot a dead tooth, and help you understand why you might have one.

What’s a Dead Tooth?

When a tooth is healthy, the pulp and the nerves that reside within its hard, outer shell are healthy, and it’s considered alive. When that matter within the tooth is damaged, thanks to decay or injury, it is possible for blood flow to the tooth to halt, causing the tooth to die.

woman punching man in the jaw with boxing gloves causing a dead tooth

What Causes a Dead Tooth?

One possible cause is trauma. If you have an accident and your tooth gets hit with enough force, the tooth might end up dying. That death can occur quickly, or it might take months. Poor dental care is another common cause of tooth death. If you fail to brush and floss regularly and visit the dentist for your biannual cleaning and exam, you’re putting your teeth at risk and a dead tooth can come as a result. Without proper oral hygiene, cavities are nearly inevitable. If left untreated, that decay targets and infects the tooth pulp, leading to that loss of blood flow and the eventual loss of the tooth’s vitality.

Spotting a Dead Tooth

The most apparent and outward sign of a dead tooth is discoloration. While healthy teeth should be a shade of white, if a little bit yellow, a dead tooth will stand out amongst the other teeth as discolored. Dead teeth can be yellow, brown, gray, or black, and that discoloration tends to deepen over time. Additionally, if you’re dealing with a dead tooth, you may feel pain, experience foul breath and/or a bad taste in your mouth, or see swelling around the affected tooth.

If you think you might have a dead tooth, it’s crucial that we tend to the tooth quickly so that the problem doesn’t spread. Make an appointment to come see us here at North Richland Hills Dentistry as soon as you can.

Contact us to schedule an appointment today!