Four Signs of a Dead Tooth and Treatment Options

Did you know that more than 15 million people experience a dead tooth each year? So if you are experiencing some alarming symptoms, such as bad breath that won’t go away, no need to panic! Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee will guide you through the signs of a dead tooth and what to do if you suspect you have one.  

What Is a Dead Tooth and What Causes It?

A dead tooth (dental necrosis) loses blood flow due to internal or external factors. This kills the pulp (nerves and blood vessels) inside the tooth, weakening it and making it prone to fracture.  

This can happen due to:

  • Injury: A blow to the mouth from sports or accidents.
  • Poor Hygiene and Tooth Decay: Untreated cavities can lead to infection and kill the pulp (inner tooth tissue).
  • Large Fillings: Extensive dental work can sometimes damage the pulp.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), reports that over 85% of adults aged 24-34 years have experienced tooth decay, increasing with age. Regular dental care is crucial!

4 Signs You Might Have a Dead Tooth:

  1. Discoloration: A dead tooth may turn gray, yellow, brown, or even black.
  2. Foul Odor and Bad Taste: Dead tissue can cause bad breath and a foul taste in your mouth.
  3. Tooth Sensitivity or Pain: You might experience pain when chewing, or sensitivity to hot or cold.
  4. Swelling or Abscess: An infection around the dead tooth can cause swelling and pus-filled pockets (abscesses).

Treatment Options for a Dead Tooth:

Early intervention is key! Regular dental checkups and x-rays can help identify a dead tooth before it’s too late.  

  • Root Canal: This procedure – also known as endodontics – removes infected nerves, pulp, or other infected portions of the tooth. This procedure also preserves the tooth structure by filling in the removed parts and sealed to prevent further damage.
  • Extraction: If the tooth is severely damaged or infected, removal may be necessary. If left for too long, it impacts the surrounding teeth and could allow the infection to work its way into your jawline. Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee is able to perform most extractions in our office, but it is always our desire to save the tooth. If necessary, however, a dental implant can take the place of the extracted tooth – crafted to match the look and color of the surrounding teeth.

Preventative Measures:

  • Regular Dental Checkups: Schedule regular exams and cleanings to catch problems early.
  • Brushing and Flossing: Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay.
  • Healthy Diet: Limit sugary foods that contribute to cavities.

If you suspect you have a dead tooth, schedule an appointment with Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee today! Early diagnosis can save your tooth. Call us at 770-945-5850, email us at, or book online!  

Leave your worries at the door and enjoy a healthier smile


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