If your tooth is numb this could be a serious dental issue that should be brought to your dentist’s attention immediately. Teeth are alive, with blood vessels and nerves like any other body part. Numbness can indicate that a tooth has lost contact with its blood vessels and is beginning to die.
Why would a tooth die?
Tooth death can be caused by either tooth decay or an oral injury or trauma. When tooth decay proceeds unchecked, it will eventually penetrate into the layer of dental pulp beneath the tooth enamel. Often, you will experience pain when this happens, but if you continue to leave the tooth untreated, it will eventually die. When the tooth nerve loses access to blood flow and nutrients, the tooth will become numb.
When a tooth is injured, the blood vessels can become injured. When the tooth loses access to its supply of blood, the tooth will die very quickly. This is why it is so important to wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or other activities where your teeth may become damaged.
Can a non-vital tooth be treated?
A tooth that has died or become numb can still be treated. This will prevent any tooth decay present from spreading into the surrounding teeth and gums. Treating this tooth will involve root canal therapy. The dead tooth pulp and infection will be cleaned out from within the tooth. The interior of the tooth will then be filled and sealed in order to prevent further infection.
In some cases, however, root canal therapy is not possible. When this happens, the tooth will be extracted and replaced with a prosthesis such as a dental implant, fixed dental bridge, or a removable denture in order to prevent the remaining teeth from shifting. This will also help protect against gum and bone loss.
Preventing a tooth from dying
The best way to prevent a tooth from dying is to maintain a proper dental hygiene regimen. This includes brushing twice per day using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that has been approved by the American Dental Association and flossing once per day. This helps to prevent tooth decay that can lead to tooth death. It is also important that you wear the proper safety equipment and mouth guard while participating in sports or other activities where your teeth may be injured.