Do you find yourself hiding your smile in photos because of gray or discolored teeth? Have at-home whitening treatments failed to address your concerns? Has a single tooth unexpectedly turned gray? Sometimes tooth discoloration goes beyond superficial stains and requires more than whitening. Gray teeth can indicate a dental health problem beneath the surface. Fortunately, your family dentist can help.
What Causes Gray Teeth?
Sometimes discoloration is caused by what we eat and drink. In this case, in-office or at-home whitening is an effective approach. However, when one or more teeth turn gray, it’s often related to trauma, nerve damage or the erosion of your enamel (the outer layer of your teeth that gives them their white color) instead of staining caused by lifestyle choices. Some causes of graying teeth include:
- A “dead tooth” happens when the nerves in your tooth’s inner layer are damaged by injury or decay. When your tooth no longer gets a fresh blood supply, it may die. Discoloration is often an early warning sign of nerve damage. If a single tooth turns gray, it may be dead or damaged.
- Age: our enamel can wear away as we age, leading to a grayish or yellowish color as the underlying dentin is exposed.
- Medications, including antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline and some antihistamines, can cause discoloration.
Some medical conditions and cancer treatments, including radiation and chemotherapy, can cause discoloration.
- Root canals can also damage your tooth’s nerves, reducing blood flow and causing discoloration.
- According to the Cleveland Clinic, some amalgam dental restorations containing silver sulfide can give your teeth a grayish cast.
- Can My Family Dentist Help Me With Gray Teeth?
If you have a gray tooth or teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Because gray teeth often indicate dental health issues, it’s best to rule out an infection or nerve damage. If your teeth are stained, in-office whitening may do the trick. But if the cause of discoloration goes deeper than a surface stain, your dentist may recommend a different approach.
What Are The Best Treatments for Gray Teeth?
Ask your family dentist if your smile would benefit from in-office whitening. Your dentist can use more concentrated bleaching treatments than at-home kits and tackle tough stains with impressive results. However, even in-office whitening can’t always help with worn enamel or nerve damage. In that case, your dentist may want to explore other solutions. Recommended treatments include:
- Dental bonding is an excellent option if you have one or two discolored teeth. Your dentist applies a natural-looking resin to your tooth and bonds the material to your tooth to correct color and structure.
- Dental crowns cover and protect damaged teeth. They can also restore discolored teeth and whiten your smile, primarily when discoloration is caused by injury or decay.
- Dental veneers are custom-crafted porcelain coverings that cover your front teeth. Veneers can hide discoloration and improve the shape of your teeth.
- If you have a single dead tooth with nerve damage, your dentist may recommend extracting it and replacing it with an implant designed to match your natural teeth.
At Greenhill Family Dental Care, our team puts your dental health front and center. If you have tooth discoloration because of injury or infection, we’ll find and treat the root causes, screening for decay and nerve damage. We also understand that a confident smile is a priority and are delighted to offer our patients top-notch cosmetic options. Based on the extent and cause of discoloration, we’ll work with you to find the best option for restoring your bright smile.