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What Can Cause a Tooth to Go Numb

What Can Cause a Tooth to Go Numb?

Many people are surprised to learn that a tooth is a living organ, fed by a series of nerves and blood vessels. These same people, therefore, are equally stunned when they discover that their tooth has unexpectedly gone numb.

If your tooth suddenly becomes numb, that could be the sign of a dental emergency that will require an immediate visit to our office to assess it.


A tooth should never go numb; if your tooth is numb, that’s a huge red flag that something is amiss with it. Because your tooth is a living organ, losing sensation in it could be a clue that the tooth in question is actually in the process of dying or is already dead.

The tooth is comprised of layers, with the outer layer a material called “enamel”. Then you have the dentin, and inside your tooth is something that is known as “pulp”. The pulp is the living tissue that is made up of the blood vessels and nerves.

Pulp can die for a variety of reasons, but the primary cause of it is due to a major infection. An infection can arise from tooth decay or gum disease, and sometimes an abscess (an infection with a pocket of pus) may become visible. It’s urgent that you treat this infection immediately, not only for the sake of your tooth, but for your overall wellbeing.

We can save a dead or dying tooth with a variety of treatment options. Most likely your tooth will be a good candidate for a root canal, which involves drilling into the tooth to remove the infected pulp. Then we’ll place a crown over it to help preserve it. If the tooth is too far advanced with the infection, we may advise extracting it and placing an implant or a partial or bridge in its place.

If your tooth is numb, it’s vital that you call us right away. The sooner we act, the better the chances are that we will be able to save your tooth. Please give us a call right now if your tooth is numb to schedule a same-day emergency appointment for your endangered tooth.

Dallas TX

Fort Worth TX

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