If your dentist examines your smile during a routine appointment and recommends a tooth vitality test, you may worry about what this means for your oral health. Tooth vitality refers to the health of the nerves in the pulp of your tooth. If they lose their vitality and no longer function properly, this results in a dead tooth.
To confirm a diagnosis, your dentist will need to test the affected tooth. Dr. Brock Hyder, a dentist serving patients in Payette, ID, provides further details regarding how your dental professional evaluates the health of your tooth pulp.
Why Does My Dentist Want to Perform This Test?
Sometimes patients may suspect that they have a non-vital tooth, also known as a dead tooth, because the tooth has turned greyish in color. But many individuals do not experience symptoms until a dentist notices a concern during a routine dental examination.
Your dentist may spot nerve damage within the tooth pulp in an x-ray of your smile. This problem may occur for a few reasons. To confirm or rule out non-vital tooth pulp, the dentist will want to perform a vitality test.
Though a non-vital tooth does not necessarily signify a dental emergency, it could put the tooth at risk of major problems. This is why a dentist will want to investigate the potential problem thoroughly.
How Do Dentists Test Tooth Vitality?
You will schedule a separate appointment for a tooth vitality test so that your dentist can ensure they have the appropriate tools and equipment on hand. The most common way to test the health of tooth pulp is through thermal testing.
During this test, your dentist will apply a cold stimulus to the affected tooth as well as surrounding areas of the mouth. They will compare and evaluate both the reaction speed and the intensity of the sensation in relation to the stimulus. If the tooth feels less of the sensation and has a slower reaction, it may have non-vital pulp.
Will I Need Further Dental Work for a Dead Tooth?
As mentioned, a non-vital tooth does not inherently require further treatment from your dentist. They will likely want to monitor the affected tooth to ensure it does not get infected or experience other dental concerns. Some patients may seek cosmetic dental treatments to get rid of discoloration in a dead tooth.
If the patient is in pain or the pulp is already infected, the dentist will intervene. They will complete root canal therapy to clear out the infection. They will cover the tooth at the conclusion of this treatment with a dental crown to preserve it.
Find Preventative Dental Care in Payette, ID
Payette Dental offers teeth cleanings, dental exams, and other preventative care for patients in Payette, ID. Dr. Hyder also specializes in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, including periodontal care, for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with our practice, contact our office by phone at 208.243.9807 or reach a member of our staff online.