In some cases, your dentist may recommend a tooth vitality test after examining your smile during a routine dental appointment. You might not have any visible symptoms of a dental problem, but your dentist can spot potential nerve damage on an x-ray image of your teeth.
This could point to a dead tooth, so your dentist will want to confirm this diagnosis in order to provide optimal care for your smile. Read on to discover the importance of tooth pulp vitality diagnostics and what your test results could indicate for your oral health.
What Is a Tooth Pulp Vitality Test?
Some patients do not have any noticeable symptoms if there are concerns with the health of their tooth pulp. But other individuals may see discoloration or experience pain in the affected tooth.
A dentist may notice damaged nerves during a routine dental x-ray. To confirm that the tooth pulp is non-vital, they will need to conduct a test on the tooth.
A non-vital tooth does not necessarily require emergency dental treatment. But a dead tooth might have a greater risk of infection and other dental problems. Dentists will need to know if they must monitor it.
How Will My Dentist Evaluate the Health of Tooth Pulp?
You will need to schedule a separate appointment with your dentist for a tooth pulp vitality test to ensure that they have the necessary equipment on hand. The common type of exam that your dentist will employ for this evaluation is thermal testing.
This test utilizes a cold stimulus that a dentist applies to the affected tooth as well as other spots in the mouth to serve as controlled variables. They measure the reaction speed and the intensity of the sensation. A weaker feeling along with a slower reaction could indicate non-vital tooth pulp.
The patient will not need any preparation before the test, and they can leave without the need for recovery following their appointment. The cold sensation fades almost immediately after the procedure.
Will I Need Further Treatment for a Dead Tooth?
If the tooth proves to be non-vital, it will not inherently require further treatment from the dentist. In many instances, the dentist will want to monitor its health closely in future routine dental exams. Some patients may want to pursue cosmetic enhancement with tooth bonding to resolve discoloration caused by this condition.
If the tooth is infected or the patient is in pain, the dentist may need to provide prompt emergency treatment. They can recommend root canal therapy to get rid of the infection. A dental crown will cover the tooth after this procedure, shielding it from further damage.
It has the added bonus of also making the tooth appear brighter if it had dulled due to the non-vital tooth pulp. Schedule routine exams with your dentist to make sure your smile stays healthy. This preventative care can help you avoid dental emergencies.