If you get a crack in the jaw, your first fear is that you might lose your tooth. But you’re relieved when you look and realize that the tooth is still in place. Your relief starts to fade, though, as the tooth itself becomes discolored over the next few days. You worry it might be dead. That’s possible, but just because your tooth turns dark, it doesn’t mean it’s dead.
A Dentist Can Test Your Tooth
If you notice a tooth is becoming discolored after trauma, you need to make an appointment with a dentist. In Summerlin, we’re happy to welcome you to our office where we can examine your tooth.
Our main goal is to figure out whether your tooth is still alive, and doesn’t need any immediate treatment, or if it’s dead and needs reconstructive dentistry. The first test for your tooth is tapping it. This not only helps us understand whether the tooth is still alive, but also whether the tooth ligaments are still in place and strong.
Then we can use a cold test to check whether the tooth is still sensitive. A sensitive tooth means the nerve is still alive inside. We may also use an electric pulp tester, which can help us determine whether your tooth is still alive.
If your traumatized tooth is no longer alive–or vital–we will usually perform a root canal to remove the dead tissue and protect you from infection. This includes a dental crown that covers the discolored tooth to give it an attractive appearance again.
If we find out your tooth is still alive, it’s generally best to wait for a while and see if your tooth returns to normal color. The discoloration is similar to a bruise, and it often resolves in four to 10 weeks, though it may take up to six months.
Sometimes, though, your tooth doesn’t return to white. In that case, we might bleach the tooth. Then, if that doesn’t work, we’ll use a crown or porcelain veneer to restore its appearance.