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What Causes a Tooth To Die?

A tooth is considered non-vital when the pulp (nerve) of a tooth has died.  Dentists also refer to teeth that have had a root-canal as being non-vital as the nerve of the tooth has been removed.  The nerve lets you know if your coffee is hot or an ice-cream is too cold – it acts as a reactor to stimuli, both temperature and pressure and can respond negatively if you have a crack in your tooth.  Every tooth in the mouth has its own nerve that is nourished by blood that helps with a tooth’s early development.  So what causes a tooth to die?

SW Calgary General Dentist – Dr. Shairoz Meghji – explains that the main causes of a tooth dying are decay, trauma and regular wear and tear. Patients who have a tendency to clench and grind may find themselves dealing with hyper sensitive teeth and that become reactive to pressure stimuli – biting – and temperature.  The hyper reaction of a tooth usually occurs when the nerve is inflamed and dying – and discomfort can range from a constant mild ache to more severe and urgent throbbing.

Dr. Shairoz Meghji of Apple Dental on Elbow Drive is a General Dentist who provides Root Canal Therapy and discusses why one of the major causes of a tooth to die is due to decay.  Dental Decay eats away at the outer tissues of a tooth (enamel and dentin) until it reaches the centre of the tooth where the nerve lives.  The bacteria in the decay irritate the nerve – causing pain, infection and eventual death.  Once the nerve of a tooth starts to die there is no way of stopping the process and Root Canal Treatment (or extraction) is recommended to control discomfort, swelling and infection.

The other main cause of a tooth dying is trauma.  Now trauma doesn’t just refer to taking a hockey puck to the mouth (please wear your sports guard) – it also includes patients who have bad bites – causing certain teeth to get hammered on constantly by an opposing tooth.  This type of trauma bruises the nerve of the tooth – making it become highly sensitive and reactive to pressure.  Over time the constant force exerted on a tooth (or teeth) can cause the nerve to die – that’s why wearing a night guard and/or addressing a bad bite with Orthodontic Treatment is recommended.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity – either to temperature or pressure – contact your Calgary Dentist.  For more information on services provided by Apple Dental – call today 403.640.4000

All services provided by a General Dentist