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What It Means When a Tooth Goes Dark

If your smile has been discolored by food and drink, it’s typically all your teeth that become darker together. And when we treat your smile with teeth whitening, the entire smile whitens together.

But what does it mean when one tooth gets suddenly darker? And how can that be treated? Her are some of the reasons why just one tooth gets darker than the others.

What to Do about One Dark Tooth | Cosmetic Dentist Columbus

Differential Staining

Sometimes, one tooth gets darker than the others because it’s the only one getting stained. This most often happens if you’re a smoker and tend to draw the smoke in at a particular position in your mouth.

In this case, the staining is superficial–on the surface–although it might be more stubborn than some other stains. So, it might not respond to the whitening treatments you buy at the store, but professional teeth whitening should be able to take care of it.

Metal Amalgam Fillings

Metal amalgam fillings start out silver, but as they oxidize (rust) they can turn black. This blackness doesn’t just affect the filling, it can make your whole tooth turn dark. So, even if the filling is in a hidden location, the metal filling can affect your smile.

By the time a metal amalgam filling has caused your entire tooth to darken, it’s not enough to replace the filling with a tooth-colored one. Instead, we will likely have to cover the tooth with a veneer or crown to make it look more attractive.

Tooth Trauma

When your tooth gets hit hard, it can turn dark. This is a sign that your tooth has been injured, but doesn’t necessarily show how serious the injury is.

Sometimes, your tooth will darken because the trauma causes something like a bruise. This may be, like a bruise on your skin, temporary. It may get better on its own, although this will take a lot longer than a bruise on the skin.

And it’s possible that the bruised tooth won’t ever get better. It will stay dark permanently, which can make you unhappy with your smile. Sometimes this will respond to teeth whitening, especially KöR teeth whitening, but sometimes it won’t.

If your tooth doesn’t respond to teeth whitening, we may have to use a veneer or crown to make it look attractive again. The discoloration may even be a sign that the tooth has died inside, which means that root canal therapy is recommended to prevent infection.

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can also cause a single tooth to become discolored. Usually, the discoloration is concentrated in a limited part of the tooth, but when it gets very dark, the entire tooth might look darker than its neighbors.

But a single discolored tooth may be a sign that you have a very bad cavity. When a tooth cavity reaches the interior of your tooth, the part where the living tooth is, called the pulp, it can infect the tooth. This infection causes the pulp to die, which can cause your tooth to turn dark in color. When this occurs, it needs root canal therapy to remove the infection. We usually follow this with a dental crown to protect the tooth and beautify it.

What’s Caused Your Tooth to Go Dark?

If you have a single tooth that’s turned dark in color in Columbus, OH, we can help. We will evaluate the cause and recommend the best treatment to restore your healthy, beautiful smile.

Please call (614) 848-5001 today for an appointment with Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mike Firouzian at Firouzian Dentistry.