The pulp of your tooth is protected from external threats by both dentin and enamel. However, tooth pulp can become damaged due to restricted blood flow in the area. If this is the case, you may develop non-vital tooth pulp, which some people refer to as a dead tooth.
If your dentist suspects this dental problem may be forming in your smile, they will want to order testing to confirm a diagnosis before discussing potential treatments. Dr. Clement Monroe and Dr. Kamron Monroe, expert dentists practicing in Pinehurst, NC, provide details about the effect of tooth vitality on your oral health and how dentists evaluate this potential issue.
Why Does My Dentist Test Tooth Pulp Vitality?
Some people experience symptoms if they have blood flow issues with their tooth pulp, including discoloration in the tooth or pain. However, in many cases, the patients do not notice any concerns, and the dentist discovers the issue through x-ray imaging completed during a routine examination.
A non-vital tooth does not necessarily count as a dental emergency requiring prompt treatment. But it can make the tooth pulp more vulnerable to oral infections. Your dental professional can monitor the tooth going forward and intervene with restorative dentistry if needed.
What Happens During a Tooth Vitality Test?
Your dentist will recommend scheduling a separate appointment for your tooth vitality test in order to ensure that they have all the necessary tools on hand. Dental professionals often use thermal testing to evaluate the health of tooth pulp.
This test uses a cold stimulus which a dentist will apply to the affected tooth and several other parts of the mouth. They will measure the intensity and speed that the patient feels the stimulus. A slower reaction or less intense feeling may point to non-vital tooth pulp.
What Do My Test Results Mean for My Oral Health?
If your dentist does not find an issue with the vitality of your tooth pulp, they may have some advice for you. Chronic teeth grinding and other pressures on your smile could cause enough trauma to the tooth to initiate blood flow concerns to the pulp and ultimately affect its vitality. They can recommend treatment to stop this behavior and protect your smile.
If they determine you have a non-vital tooth but there are no signs of infection, the dentist will likely not recommend emergency treatment. Some patients may seek cosmetic dental treatment to amend any discoloration in the tooth. But if the patient is in pain or the pulp is infected, the dentist will need to administer restorative dental solutions.
Get Preventative Care from Your Dentist in Pinehurst, NC
Drs. Monroe and Monroe Implant and General Dentistry offers high-quality preventative dental care for patients of all ages. Our expert dentist office is located in Pinehurst, NC and specializes in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, including tooth replacement solutions. To schedule an appointment with our practice, contact our office by phone at 910.295.4242 or reach our staff online.