When most people think about tooth discolouration, they tend to think of the staining of teeth most likely caused by food, beverages or smoking.

While this may be a more common form of tooth discolouration, some people may experience more serious issues with one or more teeth in which they have turned grey or even black.

Both stained teeth and blackened teeth create a noticeable impact on your smile. However, the issues that come with black teeth can indicate a bigger problem in need of addressing for reasons that go beyond aesthetics.

In this article, we will be exploring the issues, treatments and prevention of blackened teeth.

What happens if a tooth turns black?

Each one of your teeth has three main layers:

  • Pulp (the innermost layer of the tooth where the nerves are found)
  • Dentin (the middle layer of the tooth)
  • Enamel (the hard outer layer of the tooth)

The pulp of a tooth has a soft tissue layer containing the nerves and blood vessels. If they are badly damaged, it may cause the tooth to die.

These blood vessels and nerves in your teeth can be affected in a number of ways. Some instances include trauma or decay. As a result, this could cut off the blood supply to the tooth. Once this happens, the pulp will begin to die, turning black in the process.

Events involving trauma may lead to the blood vessels being damaged. When this happens, a small amount of blood may be left behind in the pulp.

This trauma could either result in simply staining the tooth in minor cases, or in more serious instances, the death of the tooth.

Despite the nerves blackening as a result of dying, a dead tooth can still cause pain. This is because of how the nerve endings or remnants of the nerve potentially becoming irritated.

While this is still a common symptom, it is important to note that dead teeth may not always cause pain.

Available treatments

If you have a black tooth or notice that a tooth is starting to darken, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. A dead tooth can quickly become infected, affecting the surrounding teeth or other areas of the mouth.

If you wait too long for treatment, extraction may be the only available remedy. However, if you seek treatment in the early stages, it may be possible to save the tooth and maintain the function.

Root canal treatment is the most common approach to addressing a dead tooth. With this treatment, all of the decayed, decomposed and infected material from the pulp chamber can be removed. Once this is completed, the tooth can be sealed and filled. Depending on the condition of your tooth, having a dental crown may also be necessary.

Once the tooth has been saved, the problem regarding discolouration may still remain. If this occurs, the dentist can inject a tooth-whitening agent that works from the inside of the tooth.

If this discolouration is not addressed, there may be a good chance that it could still show through the crown. With the combination of root canal and whitening, you have a solution that not only saves your tooth from a practical standpoint, but restores the look of the tooth.

How to avoid getting black teeth

Sometimes, a dead tooth is hard to prevent. For the most part, the recommendations for prevention are the standard rules of oral health. You should brush your teeth at least two times a day and clean in between your teeth using floss. Try to keep away from food and drink with high amounts of sugar and use a fluoride toothpaste while adhering to the correct brushing techniques. Lastly, it is important to have regular appointments with your dentist.

Preventing the trauma that may lead to a dead tooth can be a little more difficult. This is because of how most trauma is caused by an event that could not have been foreseen.

However, there are a few things that could help reduce the likelihood of trauma. for example, don’t try to open or break anything with your teeth. If you regularly play a contact sport, it is important to protect your teeth with a mount guard.

You should schedule an examination with your dentist if you notice one of your teeth darkening. By addressing this problem early, you increase the chance that the tooth can be saved and limit the possibility of an infection.

Want to find out more?

Established in 2009, Brighton Implant Clinic has 5 clinics spread across Sussex and a vast team of experienced and knowledgeable dentists and dental nurses.

If you would like to get in touch with us or find out more about our treatments for discoloured teeth, please Contact Brighton Implant Clinic for details on how to contact your nearest branch.

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