You might have heard of a dead tooth, but do you know which dental condition this term refers to? A dead tooth stems from a dental development in which the tooth sustains damage so that blood flow stops reaching the pulp. This can result in discoloration of the tooth, but some people may not notice any symptoms of this condition.
Non-vital tooth pulp does not automatically point to a dental emergency. But it could put your tooth at risk of infection and other dental dangers. This is why your dentist will want to keep an eye on the condition.
If your dentist spots signs of a dead tooth, they may ask you to get a tooth vitality test. Read on to learn more about what non-vital tooth pulp means for your oral health and how your dentist evaluates this issue.
What Happens During a Tooth Vitality Test?
Your dentist may recommend a tooth pulp vitality test if you have discoloration or pain in your tooth. They may also spot potential tooth pulp damage during a routine x-ray of your smile. They will ask you to make a separate appointment to test your tooth pulp. This ensures they have the necessary supplies on hand for the exam.
Dentists commonly use thermal testing to check the vitality of tooth pulp. This involves applying a cold stimulus to the affected tooth as well as other parts of the mouth. They will evaluate your reaction to this stimulus to determine the health of your tooth pulp.
If you have a slower reaction time to the stimulus or feel less intensity than in other parts of your mouth, you might have non-vital tooth pulp. Your dentist can use these results to get a better understanding of your overall oral health and your potential risk for other dental issues.
Will I Need Further Dental Treatment?
Non-vital tooth pulp does not necessarily need further intervention from your dentist. In some cases, your dentist may note it and make sure to monitor the condition going forward.
However, if the tooth is infected or if you feel pain, your dentist will need to treat the issue. Infected tooth pulp will usually need removal through root canal therapy. A dental crown can protect the tooth and enhance its appearance at the end of this treatment.
If the dull discoloration of a dead tooth bothers you, ask your dentist about cosmetic dental treatments that can brighten your smile. Your dentist can use a number of procedures to give you a whiter tooth color. They may suggest teeth bonding to give you a more even and enhanced smile. Or porcelain veneers can use shell-like caps to construct a whiter and straighter smile.
Schedule a consultation with your dentist today to discuss your aesthetic goals. They will consider your existing dental structure, medical history, and desired results to come up with a customized plan to get you the smile of your dreams.