BEM

Yes, no response to hot or cold could mean that the tooth is necrotic (has no live nerve tissue). But there are possible complicating issues too.

The tooth's nerve could be fine but the tooth doesn't respond because the crown (bridge abutment) that covers over it insulates the tooth, thus inhibiting the transmission of hot or cold stimuli.

With age or after experiencing extensive work (like being trimmed for bridge placement), it's common for some of the nerve space inside a tooth to calcify in (the nerve remains healthy). As a result the nerve inside the tooth is smaller, thus further away from the tooth's surface from which the thermal stimuli would come. Hence, no response.

So, if a dentist was just randomly testing teeth and discovered one that didn't respond to thermal testing, and the tooth has no other indication that it has an endodontic problem, a dentist would not initiate root canal therapy based on that evidence alone.

In your case, only your dentist can decide if that test, combined with your description of the tooth's symptoms historically, justifies initiating treatment. No doubt they would much prefer to have supporting evidence from other types of testing too.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Please answer the question so we know you're a human.