Family Dental
Dr. Kenneth G. Edwards, DDS

What Does Your Dentist Mean by a Dead Tooth?

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If your dentist tells you that you have a “dead tooth,” this means the nerve inside the tooth is no longer living. Often, the tooth will become discolored, usually yellow or gray. Sometimes trauma to the tooth is behind the nerve dying, and it can be quite painful. Other times, however, patients experience no pain at all.

Although it might sound like a dead tooth is a benign problem, this isn’t the case. A dead tooth can become infected, which can lead to other dental problems. If you know or think you have a dead tooth, it’s important that you call your Amherst dentist right away.

What Are the Causes of a Dead Tooth?

There are many reasons for a dead tooth, but it’s not always easy to know why it happens. Trauma can be one reason, and tooth decay can be another. Sometimes uneven pressure applied to a tooth when biting down wears it down, causing the nerve to die.

How Should You Treat a Dead Tooth?

Because a dead tooth can be a breeding ground for bacteria, it’s important to get it treated. If an infection develops, this can lead to an abscess, which is extremely painful.

In many cases, root canal therapy followed by a crown can save the tooth. This works in those instances where the tooth is still fairly healthy, despite the nerve having died.

If too much decay has developed, however, an extraction might be the only option.

Don’t put off treatment if you think you might have a dead tooth. If you are not sure a tooth is completely dead, it’s best to see your dentist immediately. Having a dead tooth that is left untreated can compromise your dental health. Call your Amherst dentist, Dr. Kenneth Edwards right away to schedule an exam!

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