My Child’s Tooth Is Turning Dark – What Do I Do?

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My Child’s Tooth Is Turning Dark – What Do I Do?

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Your child smiles, and you notice that one of their teeth doesn’t look quite right. It looks darker than the others, and has a purplish-gray hue. What’s going on? Do they have a cavity? Is their tooth damaged? Do you need to see a dentist for help?

Don’t worry. In this blog from Kids Tooth Team, we’ll be taking a look at what typically causes dark teeth to happen in kids, and what you need to do if you notice that one of your little one’s teeth looks darker than the others. Read on, and get all the answers you need!

Pediatric dentist in South Austin and Buda

Dental Trauma Is The Most Common Cause Of Dark Teeth, Particularly In Baby Teeth

Kids horse around. And if your child is playing around and slips, falls, or somehow damages one of their teeth in any other way, this can result in a dark tooth. Dental trauma may cause one or more of their teeth to become discolored.

Why? The simple answer is that a discolored and dark tooth is sort of like a bruise. When your child’s tooth is damaged, the blood supply inside the tooth may be damaged, too. This results in a grayish or purplish discoloration of the tooth.

This is particularly common in baby teeth. But when one of your child’s teeth is damaged, it could take days or even weeks for their tooth to become discolored. Because of this, you may not realize that a slip and fall or another accident is the cause of their discolored tooth.

Will My Child’s Baby Tooth Need To Be Pulled If It’s Been Damaged?

Damage to your child’s tooth sounds bad, right? So do you need to have their tooth pulled if it’s been damaged, and it starts to become discolored? Not necessarily. Mostly, this depends on how severely the tooth has been damaged. 

If your child has damaged and discolored one of their baby teeth, it’s entirely possible for the tooth to heal on its own. If there are no other signs of injury, damage, or infection, Dr. Alex will typically recommend that you simply leave the tooth alone.

Over time, the blood supply will return to normal, and the grayish, purplish discoloration of the tooth will go away. The tooth may lighten up to the same shade as the rest of their smile, with no need for any other treatment or intervention.

However, this is not always the case if your child’s baby tooth has been severely damaged or is infected. For example, if Dr. Alex notices signs of infection when examining your child’s tooth, she may recommend a root canal, or even an extraction if she doesn't believe the tooth can be saved.

What If My Child’s Adult Tooth Is Turning Dark?

Adult teeth are different from baby teeth. Like a baby tooth, an adult tooth can become discolored if it’s damaged by dental trauma. However, unlike baby teeth, adult teeth cannot recover from dental trauma nearly as easily, and are more likely to die and become infected.

If your child has started getting their adult teeth and you notice that one of their adult teeth is dark or discolored, you need to contact Kids Tooth Team for an appointment right away. It will usually be necessary to perform a root canal to save their tooth. The sooner you get a root canal for their discolored tooth, the more likely it is that Dr. Alex can save the tooth.

Other Causes Of Dark Teeth In Kids – What You Need To Know

So, is dental trauma the only cause of dark teeth in kids? Not necessarily. There are a few other things that can make their teeth look dark or discolored.

  • Severe tooth decay – Severe, extensive tooth decay (cavities) can make a tooth look discolored and dark. You may notice spots that are dark brown, gray, or even black in very severe cases, as well as visible pits and holes in your child’s tooth. With a treatment like a dental filling or a dental crown, Dr. Alex can restore the appearance of your child’s tooth, and prevent further damage due to tooth decay.

  • Tooth infection – Untreated oral trauma and tooth decay can both lead to tooth infections. A tooth infection happens when bacteria enter the inside of the tooth, and begin attacking the delicate “pulp.” The pulp contains the blood vessels and nerves that keep the tooth alive. As the tooth decays and dies due to tooth infection, it may become dark and discolored.

  • Iron staining – This is rare, but if your child takes a lot of nutritional supplements and eats lots of iron-rich foods, iron can build up on their teeth, partially discoloring them. However, the good news is that these iron stains can be removed by dentists, and will not come back as long as you reduce your child’s dietary iron intake.

What Should I Do If My Child Has A Dark Tooth?

While a dark baby tooth may not always be harmful and may heal on its own, it’s still not normal. Because of this, it’s best to see a pediatric dentist like Dr. Alex for a checkup in Buda or South Austin. During your child’s checkup, Dr. Alex can check their tooth, look for signs of damage, and take x-rays to make sure that there are no signs of infection or decay within the tooth.

And if your child has a dark adult tooth, you definitely need to see a dentist right away. If you don’t get the help they need, such as a root canal, they could be at risk of permanent tooth damage. The sooner they get treatment, the more likely it is that Dr. Alex will be able to save their tooth.

Get Help If Your Child Has A Dark Tooth – Come To Kids Tooth Team Today!

If your child has a dark tooth and you think they may have damaged it, it’s best to come to Kids Tooth Team right away. We offer pediatric emergency dentistry in Buda and South Austin. Dr. Alex and our team are always accepting new patients, so don’t wait. Contact us online or give us a call at (512) 523-4774 to schedule a consultation right now, and make sure your child’s smile stays healthy, happy, and bright.

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