A dead tooth is a tooth that is no longer vital. To understand this, you must first understand how a tooth remains living. Each tooth is connected to the body by blood vessels that allow it to receive the blood supply that it needs. If the blood supply is lost from any living tissue within the human body, then it cannot survive. Many people forget that their teeth are “alive” inside their mouths because all they tend to focus on is the tooth enamel that they can see. However, there is much more to your teeth than what is visible. The teeth are made up of three layers: the enamel, the dentin, and the pulp. The dentin and the pulp are made up of living tissues that must have a constant blood supply in order to survive.
There are two main causes for a dead tooth: serious dental trauma and bacterial infection. Dental trauma is most well-known for causing a dead tooth because it typically involves a tooth being knocked out from its socket. A tooth that is knocked out is immediately severed from its life supply. The blood vessels that connect the tooth to its constant blood supply are disconnected when a tooth is knocked out. Unless immediate dental intervention is available to allow the tooth to reconnect with the blood vessels, the tooth will die. However, this reconnection is not always successful; many times, once a tooth is knocked loose from its socket it will instantly die.
Dental decay is the other common cause of a dead tooth. Most dental decay begins as a simple cavity in the tooth. A cavity is caused by acid producing bacteria that eat their way through the tooth enamel. Cavities are easily treated with dental fillings and the health of the tooth can be restored. However, if a cavity does not receive proper treatment, the bacteria will continue eating their way through the tooth until they reach the dentin and pulp layers. The bacteria will eventually cause enough damage that they will zap the blood vessels, and the tooth will no longer be connected to its life supply of constant blood. Dental decay is preventable with proper oral care and early intervention.
At Pristine Dental we are here to partner with you for achieving and maintaining the healthies mouth possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. If you worry that you have a dead tooth, please contact us right away!