The question “How does a dentist kill a nerve in your tooth?” can make you think, if they’re killing the nerve, won’t that make the tooth dead too? Not exactly. While the nerve is causing pain and sensitivity, it’s not crucial for the tooth’s function or health once it’s fully formed. Think of it like taking the batteries out of a smoke detector – sure, it won’t be chirping at you anymore, but it’s still keeping you safe.

Causes Behind Killing a Tooth Nerve

The decision to “kill” a tooth nerve is also known as performing a root canal. It usually stems from underlying problems causing pain, infection, or damage to the tooth’s nerve tissue. Following are some reasons why a dentist can suggest this procedure:

  • Decay
    When decay progresses deep into the tooth, it can reach the nerve tissue. This triggers pain and sensitivity. Removing the decay and infected nerve tissue through a root canal can provide you relief from these symptoms and save the tooth from further damage.
  • Trauma
    A sudden impact or injury to the tooth can damage the nerve, leading to pain, inflammation, or infection. In such cases, a root canal is required to address the damage and prevent complications.
  • Infection
    Suppose bacteria infiltrate the tooth’s inner layers, either through deep decay or a crack. It causes an infection of the nerve tissue, known as pulpitis. Root canal treatment removes the infected tissue, disinfects the tooth, and seals it off to prevent further infection.
  • Abscess
    An untreated infection in the tooth can spread to the surrounding tissues, forming an abscess. This can cause severe pain, swelling, and even systemic health issues if left untreated. Root canal therapy is often necessary to eliminate the infection and reduce symptoms.
  • Cracks or Fractures
    Cracks or fractures in the tooth can expose the nerve tissue to bacteria and other irritants, leading to pain and sensitivity. Root canal treatment may be recommended to address the damage and restore the tooth’s function and integrity.

How Do Dentists Remove Nerves from Teeth?

Removing nerves from teeth, also known as root canal treatment, includes several steps. Following is how dentists usually perform this procedure:

  • Anesthesia
    To ensure your comfort throughout the procedure, your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth and surrounding area. This ensures you won’t feel any pain during the treatment.
  • Access Opening
    Once the area is numb, your dentist will create a small opening in the top of the tooth, known as an access cavity. This allows access to the inner chamber of the tooth, where the nerve tissue resides.
  • Removing the Nerve
    Using specialized instruments called files, your dentist will carefully remove the infected or damaged nerve tissue inside the tooth. This process also involves cleaning and shaping the root canals to remove debris or bacteria.
  • Disinfection
    After the nerve tissue is removed, the inside of the tooth and canals are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to eliminate any remaining bacteria. This helps prevent future infections and promotes healing.
  • Filling the Canals
    Once the root canals are cleaned and shaped, they are filled with a biocompatible material. This is usually a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha. This seals off the root canals to prevent bacteria from re-entering and causing further infection.
  • Sealing the Access Cavity
    After the root canals are filled, the access cavity at the top of the tooth is sealed with a temporary or permanent filling to keep bacteria from invading the tooth.
  • Restoration
    A dental crown can be placed on top of the treated tooth to provide additional strength and protection. This is especially common for back teeth, which undergo significant chewing forces.

Final Verdict

A tooth nerve that becomes inflamed due to bacterial invasion has to be put to rest. Therefore, a dentist kills a nerve in your tooth by performing a root canal for long-term relief.

Experiencing a nerve pain? Visit Dr. Tina Shah at Smile4ever Family Dentistry. Our general dentist is very interested in and likes oral surgery and restorative procedures to save your tooth. Call us at (281) 213-5668 to book an appointment.

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