If you’ve experienced any type of trauma to a tooth, there’s a chance your tooth could become discolored. When teeth are damaged or injured in any way, the dentin becomes stained with blood. This happens much like a bruise, as your tooth is bleeding internally after the injury. When this happens, your dentin becomes discolored and will lead to a darkening of your entire tooth. Sometimes, the tooth will get better after the injury. In other cases, the tooth just keeps getting darker, ranging from a mild gray to a blackish color. What are your treatment options after an injured tooth becomes discolored?
Teeth whitening can help your tooth return to its original color, but you shouldn’t start whitening your teeth without first getting the tooth evaluated by your dentist. This is because the inner pulp of your tooth may actually be dead and need to be removed. What this means is that you’ll need a root canal. During your visit, your dentist can perform some tests on your tooth to determine if the root is still alive. If it is, your dentist might suggest waiting another few weeks or months to see if the color comes back on its own. If your tooth continues to be dark or become darker, you can then talk with your dentist about getting a professional whitening done to help restore your appearance.
If the root of your tooth is dead, removing the affected pulp that’s been stained may help reverse the darkening of your tooth. This is because removing the stained area inside your tooth will help the tooth naturally become whiter. However, you’ll only need a root canal if your tooth is actually dead. Any inner pulp that’s dead or infected should be removed by an experienced dentist or in some cases, an endodontist (a dentist who specializes in root canals). Your tooth may die after the injury and require a root canal before any whitening can be done. Fortunately, whitening may not even be necessary once the affected tooth is successfully treated with a root canal!
Crown or Veneer
If your tooth is still alive but it doesn’t return to its normal color in six months, a crown or veneer may be needed to help restore your tooth’s color. Porcelain or ceramic crowns and veneers can help cover your tooth and normalize its appearance. After you receive either a crown or veneer, your tooth will be indistinguishable from the other teeth in your mouth. You may not need any cosmetic dentistry done if a root canal or whitening can be done in its place.
Talk with your dentist about what your treatment options are for an injured tooth that’s suddenly turned gray. A simple whitening could help your darkened tooth, or maybe a root canal is needed to relieve any infection and restore your tooth’s color. Regardless of how your tooth got injured, trust a professional dentist to help you get your smile back!