Signs That You Have A Dead Tooth

signs your tooth is dead

The thought of having a dead tooth inside your mouth seems horrible. You’d be surprised how common it is though, many people aren’t even aware of the decay.

So, how would you know if you have a dead tooth? Here are the signs and symptoms that you should look out for.

What Is a Dead Tooth?

Every tooth has nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels that keep it alive. Your tooth could die when there is no blood supply or when any of the connective tissues and nerves are damaged. When this happens, your tooth will become weak and eventually, it will become a dead tooth.

Signs of a Dead Tooth


The first sign that you should look for is discoloration. As a tooth dies, it starts to change in color. Usually, the tooth will turn into gray and yellow hues as it starts to die. When left unchecked, the discoloration would turn brown and eventually, black.

Foul smell

Anything dead would emit a foul odor and that is the same case with a dead tooth. If you notice that you have bad breath and that you taste something bad in your mouth, you may have a dead tooth.

Sensitivity or pain

As the nerves of a tooth die, the tooth will become extra sensitive. This often can be felt when you eat hot or cold food. In worst-case scenarios, you would experience toothaches when you chew food using the dead tooth.

Swelling or abscess

There are cases when a dead tooth comes with an infection. You can tell you are infected when you have swelling in the gum line around the dead tooth. Another sign of infection is an abscess, which is a small pocket of pus. The abscess usually forms beneath the gum’s surface.

Loose tooth

In the last stages of a dying tooth, the tissues that support the teeth will become weak. This causes the tooth to loosen up from its socket and eventually, you can pull it out or it will fall out on its own.

What Causes A Dead Tooth

Tooth decay

Tooth decay often starts in the outermost layer of the tooth and when cavities start to form, the deeper layers will be penetrated. Cavities give bacteria a way to enter the tooth and kill it off.

Tooth trauma

Physical trauma to the tooth can be caused by a sports injury or a fall. If there is trauma, the blood supply to the tooth may be cut off or the blood vessels will burst. Either way, the tooth will have no blood flow which will eventually cause the tooth to die.

How to Deal with a Dead Tooth

Have it checked

The first thing you need to do is get a dental checkup. You may just have a dying tooth and the dentist may still save it. You can expect an x-ray will be made and after the dentist will do a diagnosis and tell you your options for treatment.

Root canal

If the tooth can’t be saved but you don’t want it removed, you can get a root canal. This procedure will remove all the nerves, pulp, and any infected parts of the tooth. The tooth will then be filled and sealed up to prevent any more damage.


When the dead tooth can’t be saved, there is no choice but to extract it entirely. It is important to have it extracted because the dead tooth can affect your other teeth and the infection can spread to your jawline. Your dentist can then create a dental implant for you to replace the extracted tooth.

Remember that only a dentist can truly tell if your tooth is still worth saving or not. If you suspect that you have a dead tooth, make an appointment with your dentist right away.

Leave a Reply