What are Necrotic Baby Teeth?

A necrotic baby tooth is a dead or non-vital tooth which means the pulp in the center of the tooth no longer has living nerves, tissues and a blood supply. This seriously affects the health and survival of the tooth, as there will be a large hollow area in the center of the tooth where the pulp used to exist. This space can become infected and even worse, the infection can spread to the rest of the body, potentially affecting a child’s overall health.

Necrotic Teeth Symptoms

Often a tooth which is necrotic will have previously been painful, but as the pulp and the tooth nerves die this pain can cease. Unfortunately this doesn’t mean the infection will have disappeared as the bacteria in the tooth will continue to spread outwards. From there they will get into the roots of the tooth, most likely causing a dental abscess.

A necrotic tooth abscess is painful and it is likely your child will not be able to chew on the affected tooth. The area around the tooth might feel numb, and there is a possibility that the pressure exerted by the buildup of infected fluid around the abscess will spread to nerves in the jawbone. A necrotic tooth smell is quite unpleasant and noticeable and your child may have a persistent bad taste in their mouth.

Necrotic Teeth Diagnosis

If you think your child has an infected tooth, then please make an appointment for them to visit our pediatric dentist. We can quickly assess the cause of any pain and discomfort and will provide immediate treatment to help relieve this. Our dentist will test the pulp to see if it is still live, although sometimes a tooth will have become discolored due to a necrotic tooth pulp.

Necrotic Teeth Treatments

Treatment will usually involve dental cleaning (Prophylaxis) out the pulp and necrotic teeth tissue and sealing the root canals, or if the tooth is very badly abscessed then we may need to extract it.  We always try to avoid extracting a tooth, even baby teeth, but sometimes this can be the best way to clear up the infection and to make sure the adult tooth underneath is not damaged.