Have you noticed pain or a darkening color in your tooth? These symptoms may occur for a variety of reasons. But if your dentist suspects that the tooth is not receiving an adequate amount of blood flow, they may perform a test to check the health of the tooth pulp.
If blood flow is restricted to the pulp, it could become non-vital, a condition that some people call a dead tooth. Dr. Heather Adams, a dentist practicing in Rogers, AR, provides details about how dental professionals evaluate the vitality of tooth pulp and how this can impact your oral health.
Why Do I Need Tooth Vitality Testing?
Some individuals may notice discoloration or pain in their tooth if its pulp has become non-vital, but many people do not experience any symptoms. In these cases, a dentist can recognize a potential vitality problem in the tooth in an x-ray image taken during a routine dental examination.
The dental professional may notice restriction in the blood flow to the tooth in this image and want to get confirmation of a diagnosis of non-vital tooth pulp with a specified test. A non-vital tooth may not inherently require emergency dental care, but it could put a patient at a greater risk of an oral infection, hence the recommendation of an evaluation.
What Happens During This Dental Test?
You will likely need to schedule a separate appointment for the tooth pulp vitality test so that your dentist can ensure they have the equipment ready for you. They commonly use thermal testing to evaluate the health of tooth pulp.
This involves a dentist applying a cold stimulus to the affected tooth and surrounding areas of the mouth as controlled variables. They will take note of the patient’s reaction speed and intensity. If the patient reports a slower reaction time or less intensity in the tooth, then the patient may have non-vital tooth pulp.
Will I Need Further Dental Treatment After This Test?
Non-vital tooth pulp itself may not need immediate dental treatment, but the dentist will likely want to monitor the tooth going forward. Some patients will ask their dentist about cosmetic treatment options to resolve discoloration that may develop in a non-vital tooth.
If the tooth pulp is infected or the patient feels significant pain in the tooth, the dentist will need to promptly intervene. The tooth will likely require root canal therapy to get rid of the damaged pulp. The dentist will cover the vulnerable tooth with a dental crown at the conclusion of this treatment, which will shield the tooth from further harm as well as boost its appearance.
Get Preventative Dental Care in Rogers, AR
Dr. Adams is a highly qualified dentist serving the Rogers, AR area and offering optimal preventative and emergency dental care. Our practice also specializes in general, implant, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry, including professional teeth whitening services, for patients of all ages. To schedule a consultation or appointment with our team, contact our staff by phone at 479.323.3011 or reach our office online.