How To Fix a Dead Tooth to Get Your New Smile

If you have a tooth that’s discolored or you have suffered an injury to your tooth, there is a strong possibility of a dying or dead tooth. It’s essential to fix a dead tooth as soon as possible. It’s unwise to leave a dying tooth untreated. That’s because if left untreated, the bacteria from the dead tooth can affect other teeth, jawbone, and gums. 

How to fix a dead tooth
How to fix a dead tooth

What is a dead tooth?

A tooth has three layers: enamel, dentin, and pulp. The outer layer is the tooth enamel. As we move in, there is a type of hard tissue called dentin. In the last inner layer, located in the center of the tooth, there is a small tissue like a thread called a pulp.

What is pulp? The pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue, and cells. The primary function of the pulp is to provide sensation as well as the nutrition of the tooth. For these reasons, the pulp is also the living part of the tooth. In the case of necrosis or inflammation of the pulp, the result is a dead or dying tooth.

How to know if a tooth is dead?

  • Some might experience intense pain in the tooth, but in many cases, patients don’t feel any pain. 
  • According to dentists, the most common symptom of a dead tooth is discoloration.  If one of your teeth turning yellow, gray, or black, and its color is different from the rest of your teeth. It’s a dying or dead tooth. 
  • Dead tooth smell (bad breath) and swelling around the gums.

How to fix a dead tooth?

It’s essential to see your dentist as soon as possible. Firstly, a dentist will examine the damaged tooth, including X-rays, to determine the extent of the decay inside the tooth. Generally, a dead tooth is treated by performing a root canal, or by dead tooth extraction. 

Dead tooth: Root canal treatment

A root canal treatment is performed to remove the diseased pulp from a tooth. The pulp is a tissue that contains the nerves and blood vessels that fill the roots of your tooth. Each root secures its tooth to the gums and jaw bone. You may need root canal treatment if the tooth is damaged or infected. An abscess, cavities, or injury to your tooth can also lead to root canal treatment.

Dead tooth: root canal treatment procedure

During the procedure, the dentist will examine the infected tooth, including  X-rays. The X-rays will help to identify the extent of damage, the size, and shape of the root canals. 

During the treatment, A dentist will apply local anesthesia to prevent any discomfort or pain. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to avoid any possible infection.

A rubber sheet is placed around the tooth to prevent you from swallowing liquids or small pieces of your tooth. The Crown is removed to reach the pulp of the tooth. With the help of dental instruments, the affected pulp of the tooth is removed with cleaning fluids. 

As soon as all the pulp is removed, the dentist will clean the open root canal with a germicidal liquid. The root canal will be dried, and a dental filling will be placed inside the root of the tooth.

Your dentist will cover the tooth with a temporary or permanent crown.  If your dentist decides that you don’t need a crown, you may be able to use tooth bleaching to treat discoloration of the tooth. Ask your doctor about the possible alternatives.

Dead tooth extraction:

When it is not possible to restore a tooth because it is completely destroyed, your dentist may remove it from its socket. A dead or rotten tooth cannot remain in the mouth if it is severely damaged since there is a risk that the infection will spread. 

There are two kinds of dead tooth extraction: Simple extraction and surgical extraction. For both types of extraction, the dentist will numb the area around the tooth using local or general anesthesia before the beginning of the process.  It is very important to pay attention to the care that must be carried out after treatment to have a proper recovery.

Simple tooth extraction

This procedure is done on a tooth that can be seen on the edge of the gums. During extraction, the dead tooth is tightly gripped using the suitable equipment and pulled from its base. 
Once the tooth is removed, a dentist can replace the tooth with a fixed bridge, implant, or another prosthetic tooth.

Surgical tooth extraction

Surgical tooth extraction is necessary for more complicated cases such as curved or tangled roots, a lot of bone around the tooth, or when the roots of the tooth are very long. It is also necessary when a tooth has broken below the edge of the gums. In these cases, the dentist may favor breaking it up into smaller pieces before completely removing it.

Alyssa Bieler

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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