How Long Does It Take For A Tooth To Die

Have you been in intense pain and wondering how long does it take for a tooth nerve to die or how long can a dead stay in your mouth? You are in the right place to know the answer. We will explain the different phases of a dying tooth and how long it can stay in your mouth.

how long does it take for a tooth to die
How long does it take for a tooth to die

What is a Dead Tooth

A tooth is alive like other parts of your body. When there is no blood supply to a tooth due to dental trauma or tooth decay, it starts dyingIt’s never comfortable to experience a dying tooth, so the sooner you treat the problem, the better off you will be. 

How long does it take for a tooth to die?


It is not possible to place a time frame on how long does it take for a tooth to die. Tooth decay is a slow process, to explain in general let’s say there are three layers called enamel dentin and pulp. The outer and visible layer of the tooth is enamel. The next layer, directly beneath the surface enamel, is called dentin.

The pulp contains the blood vessels and nerves. Dead or dying nerves in the pulp can lead to the death of a tooth. To know how long does it take for a tooth to die, first you need to understand five different phases of a dying tooth. 

The first phase of a dying tooth

In an early stage in which the bacteria attack the enamel, deteriorating the natural shine and giving rise to small white spots, the wear begins to advance. The stain that was previously white becomes black, and pain begins to feel from the cold, heat, and sweets.

The second phase of a dying tooth

If no treatment is received to slow the progression of caries, a hole or cavity begins to form in the tooth. At this time, the repair is still superficial, and our dentist can stop the process before it reaches the deeper layers.

The third phase of a dying tooth

In this phase, the damage reaches the dental pulp, a soft tissue that forms the internal structure of the tooth, and that contains nerves and blood vessels. It is the stage in which the pain is increasing, complicating both eating and sleeping. It can still be repaired, but time plays against it.

The fourth phase of a dying tooth

If the lesion has not been treated at this stage, the cavity reaches the nerve of the tooth. The pain becomes excruciating, and the risk of phlegmon or tooth abscess increases. Also, the infection can affect the gum and jaw bone. The solution is to remove the dental nerve (what we know as endodontics).

The fifth phase of a dying tooth

If the patient reaches this phase without receiving treatment, it is very likely that caries has destroyed the tooth, invading more than 55% of the visible part. In this situation, it is impossible to save the part. 

Summary:  There is no exact answer to the question: How long does it take for a tooth to die as the process of decay is gradual. It can take from a few weeks to several months to completely decay. The treatment should be done immediately.

If the bacterial infection grows, it can move to the root of the tooth and attack the jaw and other bone parts. Dentists often take x-rays to treat these types of cases. Regularly visiting your dentist will allow you to manage your teeth before pulp death occurs. 

How long can a dead tooth stay in your mouth?


There is no exact time frame of how long it can stay in your mouth. A dead tooth can stay in your mouth for weeks, months, and even for years. But it is not advisable to do so without further treatment.

Dead tooth color is different from the rest of your teeth. Due to loss of nutrition, a “dead tooth” becomes brittle and can break down while chewing food. 

If you contact a qualified doctor, then the installed seal will help to save the cutter for a long time. A decayed tooth can be restored with a crown that lasts much longer. If you adhere to the recommendations, then you can live with this pathology without any problems.

Can you leave a dead tooth in your mouth?

You can not leave a dead tooth in your mouth without it first having been treated with a root canal. Both the dying and the dead teeth should be treated as soon as possible. This is the only way to prevent a possible infection from spreading to the rest of the mouth and damaging other teeth, gums, or jaws.

Once dead, the tooth needs root canal treatment, which basically consists of cleaning and disinfection to remove these bacteria. If this treatment is not done, the chances of the bacteria spreading through the mouth, bones, and even falling into the bloodstream increase, leading to the infection to other parts of the body.  

There are two treatment options whose choice will depend on the situation and the experience of the dentist

Root canal: The infection of the tooth and root is removed first. Subsequently, the tooth is cleaned and sealed to avoid further infection.

Dead tooth extraction: If your tooth is completely damaged and unable to restore, your dentist may completely remove it. In this case, the dead tooth will be gripped tightly and then pulled from the gums.

About Alyssa Bieler 38 Articles
Alyssa Bieler is a writer with a medical background, currently working for a county health department in Florida. She is a well-respected public health researcher on a variety of topics related to nutrition, wellness, and health.

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