How Long Dying Tooth nerve Die & How To Fix it

Grey dead tooth in toddler

A good oral hygiene is important for your overall body well-being. Some dental problems such as exposed dying tooth nerve can cause extreme pain and discomforts. Maybe your dentist just revealed to you that one of your teeth have a dying nerve. You may be wondering how long this pain and discomfort will last before the nerve dies. Well, in order to understand fully well what a dead tooth nerve is all about, it might be helpful to be familiar with the various parts of a tooth.

Parts of a tooth

A tooth is made up of there layers – enamel, dentin and pulp. The enamel is the strongest and outermost layer of the teeth, it provides protection to the softer inner layers. The dentin layer that is found right after the enamel, it’s the part of the tooth that protects the pulp from harmful bacteria. The pulp is found at the core of the tooth, it houses blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues that keeps the tooth alive.

However, there are certain things that can cause damage to the living parts of the pulp and even let them die. Naturally, the tooth pulp tissues are encased in a germ-free environment. But sometimes, bacteria from deep decay or a leaky filling gets into the pulp tissues and leads to infection and damages.

Things that can damage the pulp tissue

1. Dental trauma: a physical trauma to the tooth can irritate the pulp tissues and eventually affects blood flow in the affected tooth. A blow to a tooth, deep crown preparations, repeated invasive procedures, and chronic teeth grinding or clenching can irritate pulp tissue. (1) Unlike most other body tissues, once the pulp tissues are injured it can’t heal properly on its own. If an injured pulp tissue is left untreated, the inflamed tissues might die.

2. Tooth decay: extreme tooth decay and untreated cavities can cause a tooth to die. Untreated cavities will eventually reach the pulp layer of a tooth, this creates an opening through which bacteria enter the pulp cavity. Eventually, the accumulation of bacteria in the pulp cavity will make the pressure inside the pulp to become too high. As more time passes, the blood supply to the tooth will be cut off, this results to the tooth’s death. (2)

How Long Will It Take For Dying Tooth Nerve To Die?

There are so many factors that can determine how long the deterioration will take place. Depending on the cause and how severe the injury or infection is, it can take up to two weeks or a month for a dying tooth nerve to die. The number of bacteria that have entered and how fast you treat the  problem can determine whether the tooth will die or not.

Normally, an inflammatory response in the tooth increases the pressure inside the tooth. Without immediate attention, the pressure can get so intense that the nerves would suffocats and die. In most cases, if a situation like these is left untreated, the nerve is most likely to die in two weeks time after the trauma. If you can act fast and ensure that the cause of the problem is removed or repaired you may not experience any further problems.

How to fix a dying tooth nerve

A dying nerve can result to tooth pain which can range from almost unnoticeable to excruciating. If the nerve is dying due to an infection, you may experience bad taste or bad smell resulting from the tooth. Frequent change in the tooth’s color is among the most common symptoms of dying nerve.

If you ignore these problem, it will deteriorate and eventually lead to tooth death. Luckily, there are two available treatment options when a nerve dies in your tooth. To treat a dead or dying nerve you can either go for extraction or root canal therapy.

Root Canal

A root canal treatment is a simple procedure, that is used to remove dead, decayed or dying pulp tissues. On the appointment day, the dentist will have to evaluate the tooth in order to determine the right action to take. If it turns out that root canal is the most suitable treatment option for you, here is how it’s done.

  • Before the root canal treatment, the dental professional will perform a radiographic examination on the tooth. This examination is used to determine the size and the position of the pulp cavity.
  • The dentist will administer a local anesthetic so that you feel no pain throughout the procedure.
  • A tiny opening will be made at the back of tooth. This provides access to the pulp tissues.
  • The damaged or dead pulp tissues are removed completely from the pulp cavity.
  • The empty pulp chamber is prepared for a filling. A suitable temporary filling will be used to fill the empty pulp chamber.
  • At the final day of the procedure, the dentist may recommend a full crown after completing the root canal treatment.

Tooth Extraction 

Extraction is usually recommended if the dentist is unable to repair the tooth. The tooth extraction procedure is usually simple, relatively cheap and painless. After the extraction must have been completed, the dentist can replace the missing tooth with a prosthetic tooth, a fixed bridge or dental Implant.

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