A Single Discolored Tooth
What if you don’t have a whole mouth full of discolored teeth but just one tooth that seems darker than the others? There are a few potential causes for this, including:
- Habitual darkening or damage
- Metal amalgam fillings
- Tooth death
- Tooth infection
First, consider the location of the darkened tooth. Is it exactly where you hold the cigarette when smoking or the straw when drinking cola? It might be discolored and/or damaged by these habits.
Another potential cause of a single darkened tooth is a metal amalgam fillings, aka silver fillings. Silver fillings start out silver in color, but they can oxidize (rust) and turn black. This can sometimes make the entire tooth turn black.
Sometimes, a tooth turns dark because it has died inside. Usually, this is because the tooth got hit very hard, dislodging it just enough to kill the living part of the tooth, called the pulp, inside.
Another potential cause of a darkened tooth is that it has gotten infected, which is also killing the pulp–and replacing it with dangerous bacteria. Normally an infected tooth will hurt–a lot. However, sometimes it happens that the tooth gets infected but remains painless.
For a tooth with minor habitual damage, St. Louis cosmetic dentist Dr. Chris Hill might recommend a porcelain veneer on just one tooth. If the tooth has a large amalgam filling, we might suggest a dental crown.
If the tooth is dying, dead, and/or infected, we will recommend either root canal therapy or extraction. Root canal therapy removes the infected or dead tooth pulp. We then protect and beautify the tooth with a dental crown.