You want all your teeth to be the same color. It’s understandable—even one tooth that’s a
different color sticks out, especially if it’s one of your front teeth. Teeth that become discolored
do so for a reason, so it’s always best to get that tooth checked out by your dentist.
What are some of the reasons that teeth become discolored? Here’s a list of the top ways one
of your teeth can turn brown, yellow, or gray.
Trauma to the Tooth
If one of your teeth has experienced any type of trauma, this could be the cause for its
discoloration. This trauma could include getting into an accident whether as a child or as an
adult, such as a car accident or falling and injuring your mouth.
When your tooth is injured, bleeding can happen inside the tooth. Bleeding will often cause a
bluish-gray tinge to the tooth, almost like a bruise. However, bleeding can also cause a tooth to
become brown or yellow. As a result of the trauma, your tooth’s root may die. When the root
dies, this can lead to a brown or gray appearance that sticks out from the other teeth.
Staining from Food or Medicine
We know that certain foods and drinks have the ability to stain our teeth. Whether it’s from
harmful behaviors such as tobacco use or from drinking coffee and wine, some teeth may be
more resistant to staining than others. Enamel is porous and while it can help protect teeth
from staining when it’s strong, it could be the cause for staining when it’s weak.
Medicine could also be the cause of your tooth’s different color. Some people who were given
antibiotics as a child—or people who have a mother that took them while pregnant—may have
a tooth or two that appears gray. This usually happens before the permanent teeth come in and
is something your dentist can help evaluate.
It’s not easy to spot cavities if you don’t go to the dentist regularly. Many people don’t realize
they have a cavity until it’s too late. Tooth decay can progress to the point that it eats through
the softer tissues of your teeth and eventually sabotages your tooth’s root. When this happens,
the root dies and an infection can ensue.
People who have a dead tooth root commonly experience discoloration in that tooth. This
discoloration may go away with root canal therapy, in which all the dead tissue is removed and
the tooth is properly sealed up. Your dentist can evaluate if your tooth decay has caused your
discoloration and if a root canal can help fix it!
When it comes to discolored teeth, considering the causes will help you find your best form of
treatment. Although a professional whitening can fix some of these problems, most often the
root cause will need to be fixed. This may mean receiving root canal therapy or fixing the
problem so your tooth color can return to normal. Addressing the cause of your tooth
discoloration can help return your smile to normal!