Have you been in excruciating pain and wondering how long does it take for a nerve in a tooth to die? Let us explain to you why the nerve in your tooth dies and how long does the process takes.
Before we go into explaining how this process begins or happens, let us give you a breakdown of your tooth structure. Every tooth has three layers, with the outer one being the enamel. This is the hardest layer and the one that you can see.
The layer inside it is called dentin and it gives strength to your teeth as it is made up of bone tissues. The central layer is called pulp and this is where the blood vessels are.
When your tooth gets damaged, the damage can extend to the inner layer too. In this case, tooth decay or death starts to occur.
Causes of Tooth Death
There are two main causes of tooth death. They may cause your tooth to die in a short span of time or affect it for a long period, deteriorating it over time.
This is a major reason for tooth death. Your tooth might get injured during a sport, a fall or a blow to your face. Sometimes, the injury is so severe that it can damage the tooth until the pulp and gives room to bacteria that start entering the sire.
If you do not take care of this injury in due time, the bacteria will keep increasing in number until a time comes when all the pulp has decayed, and the blood vessels are dead.
Blood vessels supply blood to the tooth so when they are damaged; the tooth dies due to lack of blood.
The second reason for tooth death is infection. Infection is caused if you do not tend to tooth injury in its earliest stages.
For example, if you have had a traumatic experience involving your teeth and you do not get help soon, bacterial could infect the wounds or the cracks.
Over time, this bacteria eat up the inner structure and obstructs blood supply to the tooth. There is no definite answer to how long does it take for a tooth to die as the infection may be slow-spreading or may spread quickly.
Symptoms of Tooth Death
Even though your dentist is the one who will be able to tell you correctly if your tooth is dead or not, you can detect it at home if you have certain symptoms.
When your tooth is dying or dead, you will experience pain. You might be wondering how a dead tooth can cause me pain. This question does make sense because if the nerve is dead, how is the pain being transmitted?
Well, the pain you experience during nerve death is not due to the tooth itself but due to the nerve endings that are present in the periodontal region.
The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on how much swelling has taken place and how bad the injection is.
In some cases, an abscess might form around the tooth. It is a pocket that fills with pus over time. If you see a pimple on your gums, white in color and extremely painful when touched, that is an indication of your tooth dying.
The pain could also spread to the neck and face if inflammation keeps increasing in the affected region.
Change in tooth color is a noticeable symptom if tooth death. The tooth can become yellow, grey, or even black in some cases.
This is an indication that the blood vessels in the pulp of your tooth have died. A change in tooth color is normally evident in the last stages of tooth death.
Inflammation in your tooth can have many noticeable symptoms such as sensitivity to hot and cold things, fever, foul smell due to the presence of bacteria, swelling, or fever.
Of course, these are not confirmatory symptoms, but if you are experiencing them, it is a sign that you need to consult a dentist.
How to Treat a Death Tooth?
There are two main ways in which dentists treat a death tooth: extraction and root canal. Depending on the extent of the damage and your choice, your dentist will treat you accordingly.
In a root canal, your tooth will stay intact as the dentist will not extract it. Instead, he or she will make an opening in the tooth and remove the pulp using dental instruments.
They will clear out the infection and seal the roots with a filling. Most of the time, the root canal is followed by a crown. This is ideal if the enamel has also been damaged during the infection.
If a tooth, after the tooth canal, is left bare, it could become brittle due to chewing. This is why dentists often follow up a root canal with filling and then a crown.
In other cases, your dentist might tell you that you do not need a crown, and you can use discoloration methods to bleach your teeth clean. This is suggested mostly to patients with problems in their anterior teeth.
If the tooth is damaged beyond repair, it has to go. Your dentist will tell you that you need to get the tooth removed. If the tooth is in a visible spot, you can replace it with a bridge or an implant.
There is no exact answer for how long does it take for a nerve in a tooth to die as the period differs from one person to another.
Let us assure you that if you go to a dentist on time, you might be able to save your tooth. Do not delay in getting help as it will only make the pain worse and will leave you with a bigger bill to pay at the clinic.