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What Is a Dead Tooth?

Posted on 3/8/2021 by Neil Starr DDS PC
What Is a Dead Tooth?Most people do not know that their teeth are alive. Teeth comprise both hard and living tissues. A tooth has three layers that are the dentin, enamel, and pulp. To have functioning teeth, all these layers have to be in good health. If the pulp layer of a tooth gets damaged, it can lead to the tooth's death.

It is important to treat a dead tooth to avoid the spread of infection to the gums and to prevent bone loss. If you do not treat this tooth, it can even lead to the loss of other teeth as bacteria will spread to the neighboring teeth.

What Will Cause a Tooth to Die

There are many factors that can cause teeth to die. That being said, the most common factor is tooth decay. If you have a poor dental hygiene routine, then you may end up developing cavities. Once this cavity gets to the pulp of your tooth, it may ultimately result in an infection or, in extreme cases, lead to the death of the tissue cells.

Injury or trauma can also result in a dead tooth. With this in mind, sport-related injuries or accidents where you harm your teeth may ultimately result in damaged nerves.

Signs of A Dead Tooth

Discoloration of The Tooth

This is one of the major signs a tooth may be dead. A change in color to yellow, brown, gray, or black of a tooth is one of the major signs of damage or death. Unfortunately, as the tooth decays and continues to die, the color will continue to darken.


This is another very common symptom of a dead tooth. However, not all people experience pain in their tooth. Other people experience mild pain while others may feel intensive pain.


You may also experience sensitivity when you have a dying tooth. Your teeth can be sensitive to hot or cold foods and drinks. However, this symptom is not common.

Bad Breath

A dead tooth can also cause bad breath. The bacteria in the teeth can cause halitosis, which is the bad breath.
To avoid the death of a tooth, it is best to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth and flossing daily. Do not use your teeth as tools to open bottles. It is also important to keep up with your dental appointments.

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Neil L. Starr, DDS, PC

Washington Office

1234 19th St NW #306
Washington, DC 20036

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