If you ever notice your tooth being painful and changing color, it may be already dead or is dying. Here is a guide on how to prevent a dead tooth, how to know, and what to do about it. 

The primary question is what does a dead tooth look like? Are teeth living? Teeth are living things. What makes them living are the tissues, vessels, and nerves inside the tooth which help with the blood supply. When this blood supply is blocked because of damaged connective tissues we call it a dead tooth. 

Effects of Dead Tooth:

There can be cases of any symptoms at all. 

The primary symptoms or effects are:

  • Pain full gums or teeth. 
  • Infection. 
  • Discoloration of the tooth. 
  • Negative effects on gums, other teeth, and jaws. 

Causes of a Dead Tooth:

What are the main causes of a dead tooth you might want to know? Here are some:

  • Injury: 

One of the main causes is some kind of injury that causes the damage. It can be caused by falling face down, sports injury, or any other accident that causes trauma to the teeth. 

  • Hygiene:

Poor oral or dental hygiene can cause this issue. For example, if you have cavities due to the use of high sugar diet you can get cavities in your tooth. These cavities can lead to bacteria reaching and infecting the pulp of the tooth. And, it eventually causing infections, inflammation, and dead tooth. 

  • Trauma:

A trauma that can reach a point where you have a bad tooth. It can be by many factors like getting your cavities filled, cold and heat transfer from the filling, or long-term decay.

Symptoms of a Dead Tooth:

  • Discoloration of the tooth: 

In the beginning, the tooth may appear pinkish or more yellow than the other teeth. But, as the damage and decay increase so does the discoloration and the tooth starts appearing brown and eventually black. 

  • Tooth/ gum pain:

This symptom may not appear for everyone. Some people do not feel any pain at all while others feel low to an intense level of pain from the nerve endings. 

  • Sensitive tooth:

Another symptom of a bad tooth is hypersensitivity to hot and cold. A dying tooth becomes more sensitive compared to normal teeth. 

  • Bad breath:

 A dead tooth can result in bad breath. Other symptoms can be a bad taste in your mouth and a gum line swelling. 

Treatment Options for a Dead Tooth:

Having a dead tooth does not mean you can not do anything about it. Different treatment methods can help you save your tooth. 

  • Root canal: 

A root canal is a procedure in which the dentist removes the dead pulp from your tooth and replaces it with a plastic-like material. Then he might fit a crown on the tooth because a tooth is brittle. This procedure can be done when the damage is not too bad and your tooth is still intact mostly.  

  • Extraction of the tooth: 

If the tooth is damaged to a level where it can not be saved you might need to extract it out. An extracted tooth can be replaced with a Calculus Bridge, implant, or denture. 

How Long Can a Dead Tooth Stay in Your Mouth:

It can stay in your mouth for a few days to months. But, it can cause infection and pain in your gums and jaws/ Therefore, it is recommended that you get it treated or extracted as soon as possible. How to prevent a dead tooth? 

You may not be able to prevent all the accidents. But, you can prevent tooth decay and lower the risk of getting by taking the following measurements:

Protect Your Face in Sports by Wearing a Mouthguard 

  • If you grind your teeth in your sleep, wear a nighttime mouth guard. 
  • Protect your teeth from any external damage from actions like opening bottles with your teeth. 
  • Do not let your teeth be frequently hot and cold. 
  • Maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine. 
  • Brush and floss daily. 
  • Eat a good diet with low sugars. 
  • Drink a lot of water. 
  • Visit your dentist after every six months or at least make sure you do an annual visit for a regular check-up. 


It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure. Take care of your teeth to prevent getting a dead tooth as much as possible. In, case you notice any symptoms do not wait for it to get worse and get yourself treated as soon as possible.