Usually, if a tooth is dying, it is because it no longer receives blood. Also, dying teeth are normally a different color than your other teeth. They may appear yellow, grey, light brown, or black. Sometimes, the tooth looks like it has been bruised. This type of discoloration will deepen over time. Without treatment, the nerve continues to deteriorate.


You may experience pain when a tooth is dying, or you may not feel any pain at all. It just depends on the where the tooth is located and the condition of the nerve. A dying nerve will often cause pain or an oral infection will lead to sore gums. If you have an infection, you may have halitosis or bad breath, swollen gums, or a distinctly bad taste in your mouth.


When teeth die, it may be due to an injury. For example, if you get hit in sports play, the trauma may cause a tooth to die. Teeth die, too, because of poor dental hygiene. If a cavity is left untreated, it can eventually affect the pulp, which can cut off the blood supply. People usually feel intense pain when the decay reaches the pulp. At this point, we may be able to save the tooth through root canal surgery. In fact, a root canal is the primary method for treating dying teeth. When the procedure becomes necessary, the nerve and pulp tissue inside a tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Otherwise, the tooth has to be extracted.
We can identify dying teeth through routine dental exams and by x-raying the teeth. We may also identify the problem if a tooth becomes discolored and becomes ultra-painful or sensitive. Always schedule an appointment with us if you suffer trauma to the face or jaw, or you believe your tooth is dying. We will do whatever we can to save the tooth and end your discomfort.