Gray Teeth In Children: What Parents Need To Know

Dentist Blog

You know that your children's teeth should be a healthy white or off-white color. Clearly, a gray color suggests that something is wrong. It's quite likely that the tooth is dead. The discoloration is due to internal bleeding within the tooth's pulp, which has changed the shade of the tooth from the inside out. This type of problem is often caused by trauma (an external force), which has injured the tooth without dislodging it from its socket. A gray tooth must be examined by the children's dentist at your local dental clinic.

Leaving It in Place

It might seem inappropriate to leave a dead tooth in place next to healthy, vital teeth. But doing nothing is actually the preferred option for a child's dead tooth—provided the tooth is intact, stable, and the injury is not actively jeopardizing your child's dental health. The injury may be more serious if your child's dentist notes signs of an infection in the affected dental pulp or the surrounding soft tissues.

Swelling and Irritation

An infection can lead to swelling and general irritation of the soft tissues around the tooth. Additionally, the tooth is likely to become painful. If a dentist encountered such a problem in a permanent, adult tooth, the condition (irreversible pulpitis) would require a root canal. This involves the removal of the damaged dental pulp before the pulp chamber is filled. Root canal treatment is not typically performed on children, as the tooth will ultimately be lost and replaced with an adult tooth. But of course, a dentist won't simply allow an infected dental pulp to remain in place.

Premature Loss

It's more likely that trauma resulting in irreversible pulpitis will require a baby tooth to be extracted. Premature loss of a baby tooth is not ideal, though it doesn't have to be a significant concern. Depending on your child's age (and the expected eruption of the permanent tooth in question), it might be sufficient to extract the tooth and wait for the imminent arrival of its replacement. 

Maintaining Space

When the adult tooth is not expected to develop for some months (or years), your child may need a space maintainer. This is a small wire loop of the same circumference as the missing tooth. It's attached to a tooth to the side of the gap, and simply prevents neighboring teeth from tilting into the gap, which ensures the healthy eruption of your child's adult tooth.

A child's gray tooth can often be left as is and is nothing more than a cosmetic concern. But since the injury that has traumatized the tooth's pulp can lead to further complications, a child's gray tooth must be assessed by their dentist.


8 December 2021

A Beautiful, Healthy Smile

Do you want to do everything in your power to keep your teeth beautiful and healthy? To help you accomplish this worthwhile task, consider visiting your trusted dentist twice each year. During this time, you can get your pearly whites cleaned and examined. Besides seeing your dentist semi-annually, brush your teeth at least twice each day. Make sure to floss at least once a day too. Drink a glass of water after mealtimes. Doing so helps wash away food particles on your teeth. On this blog, I hope you will discover simple, ingenious tips to help you maintain your gorgeous smile. Enjoy!