What to Do When One Tooth Turns Dark

Teeth whitening

When one tooth becomes darker than the rest, it can be a concerning and noticeable change in your smile. A dark tooth, particularly when darker than the surrounding teeth, affects your appearance and indicates underlying dental issues.

Elegant Edge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry can help you understand why one tooth might turn dark and what treatment options are available, including porcelain crowns, veneers, and professional teeth whitening.

Why is One Tooth Darker Than the Rest?

A tooth getting dark can be caused by various factors. Here are some reasons why one tooth might be a different shade than the rest:

  • Trauma. If a tooth has been injured, perhaps due to a fall or a blow to the face, the blood vessels inside the tooth can be damaged. This leads to a lack of blood flow, which can cause the tooth to darken over time.
  • Decay. Tooth decay can cause discoloration, with the affected tooth turning a brownish color. This is especially notable if the decay progresses and affects the tooth’s inner layers, like the pulp.
  • Root canal treatment. Teeth that have undergone root canal therapy may turn dark over time. During this procedure, the dental pulp is removed, which can sometimes cause the tooth to lose its natural color.
  • Staining. External factors such as smoking or consuming pigmented foods and drinks can cause one tooth to become more stained than others, especially if it has more exposed dentin or eroded enamel.
  • Aging. As we age, our teeth naturally darken. Sometimes, individual teeth may age or darken at different rates due to genetics or their enamel wearing down unevenly.
  • Medication side effects. Certain medications, such as tetracycline antibiotics or high blood pressure medications, can cause tooth discoloration as a side effect. This is typically the cause of the discoloration, which starts shortly after beginning a new medication.
  • Fluorosis. Excessive fluoride exposure during childhood, when teeth are still developing, can lead to fluorosis, which may darken a single tooth or several teeth. This appears as white streaks or dark spots and is often permanent.
  • Genetic factors. In some cases, genetic factors can contribute to uneven tooth coloration. Some people naturally have more variation in tooth enamel, which can lead to one tooth appearing darker than others.
  • Previous dental work. Materials used in older dental restorations, such as silver amalgam fillings, can cause a dark appearance in the tooth over time due to metal leaching into the dentin layer of the tooth.
  • Enamel erosion. Acidic foods and drinks, acid reflux, and conditions such as bulimia can lead to enamel erosion. Thinner enamel can expose the underlying dentin, which is naturally darker, making the tooth appear more discolored.
  • Dead tooth. A tooth with no blood supply is often called a “dead tooth.” This can occur after trauma or decay. A dead tooth will usually turn darker over time because of the breakdown of internal tissue.

Symptoms to Watch For

If you notice one tooth turning brown or dark yellow or see that one tooth is a different shade than the rest, monitor for other symptoms that might indicate a more serious issue, including:

  • Pain or discomfort around the discolored tooth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Swelling of the cheek or jaw on the affected side of your mouth
  • Small pimple-like lumps on the gum near the affected tooth
  • Visible signs of decay, like holes or pits in the tooth
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, which could indicate infection

Diagnosing the Cause of Tooth Discoloration

Visit your dentist to determine the cause of a tooth’s darkening. They may perform various tests, including X-rays, to check the health of the tooth’s pulp and surrounding structures. This will help confirm whether the discoloration is due to internal problems or external factors.

At Elegant Edge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we use state-of-the-art digital X-ray technology that helps our dentists provide the most accurate diagnoses possible. Digital X-rays enable us to see images instantly on a computer monitor rather than waiting for film to develop. They also expose you to less radiation, making them a safer option.

digital X-ray technology for teeth whitening

Treatment Options

The treatment for a darkened tooth depends on the underlying cause. Here are some common treatments that your dentist might recommend at Elegant Edge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry:

  • Teeth whitening. If the discoloration is superficial, professional teeth whitening might be sufficient to restore the tooth’s color. Professional teeth whitening uses bleaching agents like hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to break down pigments trapped in the tooth enamel.
    However, whitening treatments generally do not improve teeth that have darkened due to internal factors like nerve damage or decay.
  • Dental veneers. Veneers are thin shells applied to the front surface of your discolored tooth. They are an excellent option for concealing stains that whitening cannot correct.At Elegant Edge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we offer porcelain veneers and Lumineers. Both feature ultra-thin designs that blend seamlessly with natural teeth, and Lumineers require minimal tooth enamel removal.
  • Dental crowns. A crown may be the best solution for teeth that are severely discolored or have been weakened by decay or trauma. Dental crowns cover the entire tooth and restore its appearance as well as its function.
  • Root canal therapy. If the discoloration is due to a problem within the tooth, such as a damaged nerve or infection, a root canal may be necessary to remove the affected tissue and prevent further decay or infection.
    A root canal treatment involves opening the tooth’s crown, removing necrotic tissue, and smoothing and disinfecting the roots. Then, your dentist fills the tooth with gutta-percha and seals the tooth. You may also need a dental crown to restore your tooth’s functionality, integrity, and appearance.

Preventing Tooth Discoloration

While not all causes of tooth discoloration can be prevented, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily.
  • Use a mouthguard when participating in sports or activities that might lead to tooth injury.
  • Avoid smoking and limit your consumption of stain-causing foods and beverages, such as red wine, coffee, chocolate, and tomato sauces.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings.

Restore Your Bright Smile: Next Steps for Treating a Darkened Tooth

Finding that one tooth is turning brown can be an unsettling experience, but several effective treatments are available. At Elegant Edge Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we understand the importance of your smile’s health and aesthetics.

If you notice any changes in the color of your teeth, contact us for a consultation. Our experienced dental team is ready to assist you with cutting-edge solutions to ensure your smile stays beautiful and healthy.

Posted in Uncategorized
About Gregory Mansour
Call Now Button