What Is Non-Vital Tooth Pulp?

Have you noticed that your tooth appears dull in color? Does it have less sensation than it once did? These symptoms could occur due to non-vital tooth pulp.

This develops in the pulp of the tooth, the innermost dental layer. Pulp features blood vessels that keep the tooth healthy. But if these vessels suffer damage or become restricted or blocked, the lack of blood flow in the tooth can create problems.

Also known as a dead tooth, non-vital pulp is not always a dental emergency. But your dentist will want to know about this issue in your smile. Read on to learn more about non-vital tooth pulp and what this condition means for your overall oral health.

What Is Non-Vital Tooth Pulp

What Causes Non-Vital Tooth Pulp?

You might wonder what can cause damage within the tooth pulp that could leave it non-vital. Often, this happens when you suffer a dental injury, such as a blow to the face. Chronic teeth grinding and clenching might also generate pressure that could impact internal blood vessels in the teeth.

If you suffer from advanced tooth decay or gum disease, you could leave the inner layers of your teeth vulnerable to pulp damage and other problems. Make sure you seek routine dental care to treat these kinds of issues promptly and to spot issues with tooth pulp in a timely fashion.

How Does a Dentist Diagnose Non-Vital Tooth Pulp?

A dentist might see symptoms like tooth discoloration during a visual exam or notice issues in the blood vessels through a routine dental x-ray. Your dentist will want to confirm a diagnosis of non-vital tooth pulp with vitality testing. Usually, they do this with thermal testing.

This involves applying a cold stimulus to the affected tooth as well as surrounding areas of the mouth to use as controlled variables. The dentist will ask the patient to report the speed of feeling the stimulus as well as the intensity of the sensation. A slower reaction time along with less feeling in the tooth could point to non-vital tooth pulp.

Do I Need Treatment for a Dead Tooth?

Non-vital tooth pulp alone does not signify a dental emergency. Some patients would like cosmetic treatment to improve discoloration in a dead tooth. But many patients will not need additional treatment after diagnosing non-vital tooth pulp.

A dentist will want to monitor the problem going forward because the condition makes the tooth more likely to contract an infection. If you do suffer an infection or notice severe pain, a dentist will need to intervene urgently.

The dentist might perform root canal therapy to remove infected or damaged pulp. They complete this treatment by covering the tooth with a dental crown for long-lasting protection.

Continue attending routine dental check-ups to monitor a dead tooth and prevent other dental problems from impacting your smile. Schedule a dentist appointment online or by calling your local dental practice in Williamsport, PA at 570.989.5271.