What causes a Discolored Tooth?

A discolored tooth is a tooth that appears darker than the teeth beside it. Teeth naturally darken as you age, but the overall color of your teeth should be about the same.

A discolored tooth may be caused by:

  • Decay
  • Trauma
  • Gum recession exposing a dark root
  • A dead or receded nerve in the tooth
  • An existing root canal treatment
  • An old silver filling which has leeched gray color into the tooth
  • An old composite filling which is staining underneath the edges or has discolored over time
  • Tooth wear leading to the exposure of the darker layer of tooth under the enamel
  • Stain from food or beverages

Who is at high risk for a Discolored Tooth?

  • Discolored teeth are more common in people who have:
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Periodontal disease
  • Existing root canal treatments and old fillings
  • Bite problems
  • A smoking habit

What can I do to minimize my risk of a Discolored Tooth in the future?

Consult your dentist regarding your particular situation. Some options that may be recommended are:

  • Repair decayed teeth
  • Treat teeth needing root canal treatments
  • Address exposed tooth roots
  • Replace old fillings
  • Address bite problems
  • Bleach the inside of root canal treated teeth or use dental whitening products (at home or in-office)

What will happen if I choose to do nothing about my Discolored Tooth?

Unless addressed, the appearance of a discolored tooth can worsen over time. In some cases, the discoloration indicates decay or a dead nerve and these can lead to a severe infection or the loss of your tooth.

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