Teeth naturally darken as you age. But the overall color of your teeth should be about the same. If a tooth is darker than those around it, that would be considered a discolored tooth. In some cases, the discoloration may indicate decay or a dead nerve. And these could lead to severe infection or loss of tooth.
What causes a discolored tooth?
Here are the following causes of a discolored tooth:
- Gum recession exposing a dark tooth 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
- Food or beverage stains
Who is at risk for a discolored tooth?
People who have the following:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Untreated periodontal disease
- Existing root canal treatments and old fillings
- Bite problems
- Consuming high-staining foods or beverages
What can I do to prevent my tooth from discoloring?
Here are a few recommended options:
- Repair decayed teeth
- Repair gum recessions that expose tooth roots
- Replace old fillings
- Correct bite problems
- Bleach the inside of root canal treated teeth
- Use dental whitening products
- Avoid or reduce consumption of foods and drinks that stain (such as coffee and tea). Immediately rinse your mouth with water when consuming staining meals.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.