Your teeth are living organs in your body. Just as a flower in a garden will be vibrant and colorful when sufficiently cared for, the same is true with your teeth. But if your mouth is neglected, you could end up with a dead tooth.


A dead tooth is a tooth which is no longer alive in your mouth. There are several causes for this condition: No blood flow and dead or dying nerves.

“You’ll notice your teeth have a natural, white shade. With a dead tooth, the color will be darker, black or a grayish shade,” said Dr. Alejandro Cavazos of Advanced Smile Care. “The area around that tooth might be painful too. If you’re unsure if you have a dead tooth, our dental practice can always take a look, get an X-ray for you and address the problem right away.”


The pain of a dead tooth may be excruciating or it may mild. You may have bad breath, a terrible taste in your mouth and possibly swelling of your gums.  


Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of a dead tooth. If you aren’t taking care of your mouth, cavities will eat away the protective enamel of your teeth. Those cavities can erode your teeth to the point that the decay extends into the pulp of your teeth. A tooth is made up of connective tissue and cells. An infection of the pulp leads to blood flow loss and your tooth will die. Your tooth is also susceptible to dying if it suffers a a significant blow or injury. 


The longer you delay a visit to your dentist, the worse the damage to the tooth and perhaps the rest of your mouth. A procedure called a root canal is one way to treat a dead tooth, or if necessary, your dentist may recommend the extraction of your entire tooth.

In one severe case out of Maryland, bacteria from an abscess in the mouth of a 12-year old boy spread to his brain, and the boy died. ABC News reported that the boy’s family lived in poverty and had limited access to health care.

“One bad tooth can lead to pain and decay throughout your mouth. The tooth may fall out or you may get an infection that impacts other teeth in your mouth,” said Dr. Cavazos. 

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