Teeth are living, vital parts of your smile. Because they each have their own nerve supply, it is possible to lose teeth due to a damaged or dying nerve. This often happens in teeth that have been hit accidentally, even if the injury occurred 20 or 30 years ago! Gradually the tooth becomes darker and darker, appearing grey or brown compared to the vital tooth next to it.
If the tooth isn’t treated when this sign of non-vitality begins to develop, the inner portion of the tooth may resorb, become infected, or even cause the tooth to fall out. Thankfully your dentist can prevent this from happening and allow you to retain the tooth for several more years. Cleaning out the damaged nerve tissues and filling the inner chamber of the tooth is the first step. You’ve heard of this procedure before – it’s a root canal! After the root canal is completed, a permanent restoration such as a porcelain crown is placed over the tooth. Crowns protect the brittle, non-vital tooth so that they do not begin fracturing from normal wear.
Your dentist can conduct simple tests on your tooth to determine whether or not it is still alive. Some of these tests include sensitivity to hot, cold, or diagnosis on an x-ray. The process of dying can take several years or it can happen quickly. It varies from person to person and you may not know until years down the road that the tooth will ever need to be treated.
If you’ve had a history of accidental tooth trauma, be sure your dentist knows. Even if it happened during childhood, careful monitoring can help you avoid other conditions later on.
Posted on behalf of:
6300 Hospital Pkwy # 275
Johns Creek, GA 30097
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