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How to Evaluate Tooth Pulp Vitality

Each tooth features an internal cavity at its center. This pulp contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels, sensitive elements that keep the tooth healthy and connected to the rest of the body. It is shielded by durable layers of enamel and dentin, but despite this protection, sometimes you can sustain damage to the pulp.

Advanced tooth decay or an accidental blow to the face are common reasons why you could hurt the tooth pulp. Damaged tooth pulp might lead to a blockage in the tooth’s blood vessels. Without regular blood flow, the tooth can die, leading to what dentists call a non-vital tooth.

A non-vital tooth can face a greater risk of infection or other dental emergencies, so a diagnosis of tooth pulp health is crucial. When you know more about the process of testing tooth pulp vitality, you can feel more inclined to pursue this diagnostic dental process. Read on to learn the steps a dentist will take to evaluate the health of your tooth pulp.

How to Evaluate Tooth Pulp Vitality

Identifying Tooth Pulp Damage

Since the pulp lies within the tooth’s interior, you might wonder how to tell there is a problem in this part of the tooth if you cannot see it with the naked eye. You may notice some symptoms in the tooth if the pulp sustains damage.

For instance, the tooth might start to feel sensitive if blood flow to the nerves become inhibited. The tooth might also start to look dull or grey in color as a result of this issue.

Dentists can also see damage to the tooth’s pulp in a routine dental x-ray taken during a check-up appointment. They can see a problem in the tooth pulp with this imaging even when a patient does not experience symptoms. So make sure you do not skip this preventive dental care.

Thermal Testing to Diagnose a Non-Vital Tooth

If a dentist sees a potential issue with the pulp of a tooth, they will want to confirm the diagnosis with thermal testing. During this test, the dentist takes a cold stimulus and presses it to the affected tooth. They also apply it to other areas of the mouth as controlled variables.

They check both your reaction time to the stimulus as well as the intensity of the sensation. A slower or reduced reaction to the test may mean you have a non-vital tooth.

Monitoring a Non-Vital Tooth

If your dentist determines that you have a non-vital tooth, it is not always a dental emergency. The dentist will want to monitor the tooth going forward to ensure it does not develop an infection, since it will face a higher chance of these severe issues.

The dentist cannot bring the dead tooth back to life, but they can help patients with some of the symptoms. For instance, they can pursue cosmetic dental solutions to address discoloration in the tooth.

A dentist will need to perform urgent treatment if the tooth has an infection. They will perform root canal therapy and cover the tooth with a dental crown to preserve the tooth’s health.