Tooth pulp refers to the innermost layer of your tooth. It contains blood vessels and nerves that keep the tooth connected to the rest of your body and healthy. If you suffer an injury to the tooth, whether acute like a blow to the face, or over time like bruxism, you might see damage to blood vessels within the pulp.
If blood cannot flow properly to the tooth, the tooth can become non-vital. A dentist can spot signs of concerns with the pulp in a routine dental x-ray. But they will need additional testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Though not inherently a dental emergency, non-vital tooth pulp might put you in danger of other dental concerns. So testing tooth pulp vitality is important. Read on to learn more about non-vital tooth pulp, the diagnostic process, and what this condition means for your overall oral health.
How Will My Dentist Evaluate Tooth Pulp Vitality?
To confirm a diagnosis of non-vital tooth pulp, a dentist will usually employ thermal testing. You will need to schedule a separate dental appointment for this test so that the dentist can ensure they have all the required equipment on hand.
This process involves applying a cold stimulus to the affected tooth as well as surrounding areas of the mouth for controlled variables. Then the dentist evaluates your reaction to the stimulus.
If you have a slower reaction speed or less intensity in sensation in the tooth, you may have non-vital tooth pulp. Many people do not notice other symptoms if they have this problem with their pulp. But some might see dental discoloration, including a dull color, in the affected tooth or pain.
Do I Need Further Treatment for Non-Vital Tooth Pulp?
Non-vital tooth pulp alone does not warrant further treatment from a dentist. The dentist will need to diagnose the problem so that they know to monitor this now vulnerable part of your smile going forward.
However, if you feel severe pain or the dentist spots an infection in the pulp, then the dentist will need to intervene urgently. Pain of any kind should be evaluated by your dentist promptly. Do not think you can tolerate and dismiss tooth pain. Ignoring this problem may mean the infection spreads. And this puts you in serious danger of many other medical concerns throughout your body.
The dentist will likely need to perform root canal therapy to remove the damaged pulp. They finish this treatment by placing a crown over the tooth to protect it from further harm.
You can continue your usual activities if you do not have these issues with your tooth though. But your dentist will pay close attention to the tooth during future check-up appointments.
Patients can seek cosmetic dental solutions to address changes in the tooth color that may occur with non-vital pulp. Consult with your dentist to find personalized smile enhancement that can accomplish your aesthetic goals without compromising your oral health.