Why Test Tooth Pulp Vitality?

You might be familiar with damage that can develop on the outside of your teeth, like cavities. But your tooth pulp, the tooth’s innermost layer, can form issues as well. For instance, if the blood vessels within the pulp of the tooth sustain damage, then it can become non-vital.

Also known as a dead tooth, non-vital tooth pulp can lead to changes in your teeth, including dental discoloration or discomfort. While not necessarily a dental emergency, your dentist will want to monitor patients with this condition to ensure the issue does not worsen.

So the dentist must confirm the diagnosis of a dead tooth with targeted testing. Read on to learn details about tooth pulp vitality testing and what non-vital tooth pulp will mean for your long-term oral health.

Why Test Tooth Pulp Vitality

When Would I Need Tooth Pulp Vitality Testing?

Sometimes, you may notice some symptoms that can point to an issue with your tooth pulp. For instance, if your tooth experiences disrupted or blocked blood flow, it can turn grey, dull, or dark in color. Non-vital tooth pulp can also cause some pain, especially when biting or chewing.

However, a dentist can easily identify a potential case of non-vital tooth pulp by viewing a routine dental x-ray. If the blood vessels in the tooth pulp do not function properly, it will show up in this imaging. The dentist will then want to test the tooth’s vitality with a specific test.

What Happens During a Tooth Pulp Vitality Test?

Dentists often employ thermal testing to evaluate the health of a patient’s tooth pulp. The process requires a pre-prepared cold stimulus. The dentist will apply the item to the affected tooth as well as other teeth and spots in the mouth that act as controlled variables.

The dentist will monitor both the speed of your feeling the stimulus as well as the intensity of the sensation. If you have a slow or muted reaction to the stimulus, then you might have a non-vital tooth pulp.

Do I Need Further Dental Treatment for Non-Vital Tooth Pulp?

When your dentist confirms a diagnosis of non-vital tooth pulp, you might not need further intervention. If you do not experience discomfort or other symptoms related to the dead tooth, then you can return to your usual activities.

However, if you notice pain or develop an infection in the pulp, your dentist will need to intervene right away. They may need to do root canal therapy to clear away the damage.

If this is not the case, then your dentist will want to keep an eye on the tooth during future check-ups to ensure it stays healthy and free of infection. Without healthy blood flow, the tooth could face a greater risk of infection in the pulp. Follow your dentist’s preventative oral health care advice to keep your smile looking and feeling its best.

Some dental patients may want to seek cosmetic dental solutions to improve the tooth’s color and appearance after a non-vital pulp diagnosis. Learn how your dentist can help by calling their office today.