The Contradiction of Dead Tooth Pain

Article by Dr Raha Sepehrara

Dead pain sounds like an oxymoron; if a tooth is dead, why are you in agony?  Although a tooth without a nerve is essentially dead and can no longer sense hot and cold, that is not the end of the story.  Aggressive microbes from numerous bacteria found in saliva or plaque can cause an infection harboured in the dead tissue from the nerve at the centre of the tooth. The intense pain you feel is a warning signal something is seriously wrong. If you are a nervous patient don’t let fear get the better of you. In this blog will discuss tooth pain and what fear preventative dental care can help.

Why does a tooth become infected when the nerve is dead?

In the centre of the tooth is a space that contains the dead tissue of the nerve, which can become seriously infected with numerous bacteria and can become very painful. Pain is the body’s defence mechanism that signals something is wrong.  The dead tissue, from the nerve, becomes infected with oral bacteria from saliva or plaque and the root of the tooth becomes inflamed. If these microbes are aggressive, the infection can rapidly develop.  With the blood supply cut off, the dead tooth begins to rot. The infection eventually spreads to the bone and leads to an abscess.  From time to time, you may have a reprieve from the pain, and consider all is well, only for the discomfort, tenderness or pain to return.  This process can take days and last several years if ignored. At first, the tooth feels sensitive to bite on and then becomes constantly painful.

What does a dead tooth look like?

The simple answer is a dead tooth is grey but it only becomes grey over time; sometimes years.  In the beginning, a dead tooth looks like any other but, as the small blood vessels in the nerve deteriorate, the tooth becomes darker and eventually turns grey. It will not recover but it may be possible to whiten it once treatment for the dead tooth has taken place.

What is the treatment for a dead tooth for nervous patients?

In the first instance, the dead tooth needs to be meticulously examined, both clinically and with x-rays, and suitable treatment carried out to eradicate the infection before it spreads.

Root canal treatment will save the tooth, avoiding the need for extraction.  No one wants to lose a tooth, but root canal treatment makes even those who consider themselves to have a high pain threshold, very nervous and want to run away.

Fear not. For nervous patients, and those with dental-related phobias, The Dental Suite has the perfect solution. We practice Sedation Dentistry, which is the most advanced in its field and allows our patients to have a relaxed, carefree dental experience. With Sedation Dentistry,  root canal treatment is no longer something to dread. In a specially designed calming environment, under the care of your trusted dentist, you can feel totally relaxed while listening to your favourite music.  

Do you think you have a dead tooth and want to have it checked?  Are you afraid of going to the dentist and have more questions about Sedation Dentistry? Put an end to the pain and fear. Contact us at The Dental Suite and book your first complimentary consultation. We will be happy to welcome you to our clinic.



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