After a routine dental x-ray, your dentist may recommend getting a tooth pulp vitality test. You might worry about what this means for the future of your oral health. Vitality refers to the nerves in the pulp of your tooth and whether they are functioning or not. If these nerves lose vitality, they cannot regenerate, and you will have what people commonly call a dead tooth.
Though non-vital tooth pulp is not necessarily a dental emergency, your dentist will want to confirm this condition through testing. Dr. Edward Hudgens, a dentist serving patients in Charleston, SC, describes what you can expect when you get a tooth pulp vitality test from your dental professional.
Sometimes, patients may experience symptoms related to a non-vital tooth, including discoloration or pain. In many cases, however, patients do not notice this issue until a dentist discovers it during a routine dental evaluation.
Non-vital tooth pulp does not inherently require emergency dental intervention. But this problem may put your tooth at risk of infection or other dental concerns. Therefore, your dentist will want to thoroughly examine and diagnose the problem and provide appropriate preventative dental care as needed.
You will need to schedule a separate appointment for a tooth vitality test so that your dentist can ensure they have the appropriate tools on hand. Dentists usually choose thermal testing to evaluate tooth pulp health.
For this test, your dentist will apply a cold stimulus to the affected tooth as well as other areas of the mouth as controlled variables. They will measure the reaction time and the intensity of the sensation to examine the function of the nerves in the tooth pulp. A slower reaction speed or less feeling in the tooth could signify non-vital tooth pulp.
If a dentist diagnoses you with non-vital tooth pulp, they will not necessarily need to provide further treatment for the tooth. They will want to monitor it closely going forward so that it does not sustain major problems like an infection.
If the pulp is already infected or the patient is in a great deal of pain, then the dentist will have to intervene. They can treat the problem with root canal therapy, finishing the procedure by covering the tooth with a dental crown. Even if restorative treatment is not needed, some patients would like to resolve any discoloration with cosmetic dentistry solutions.
Find Optimal Preventative Dental Care in Charleston, SC
Dr. Hudgens is a highly skilled dentist offering both preventative and emergency dental care to patients in Charleston, SC. He also specializes in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, including periodontal care, for patients of all ages. To schedule an appointment with our practice, contact our office by phone at 843.418.9354 or reach a member of our staff online.