Barring those affected by a few uncommon genetic conditions, human teeth are naturally a slightly yellowish shade of off-white. While it’s perfectly normal for teeth not to be perfectly white, some people might notice that their teeth are taking on a grayish tone. In some cases, a patient might notice that a single tooth is going gray while the others retain their normal color. Here’s why your teeth might be turning gray and what a dentist can do to treat these issues.
Why Would Teeth Turn Gray?
There are a variety of factors that can lead to teeth taking on a grayish color. A few of them include:
- Certain medications: Tetracycline is an antibiotic that can turn teeth gray if it is taken by a child without fully developed teeth. This is most common in children under eight or whose mothers took tetracycline during pregnancy.
- Dental restorations: Metal or amalgam restorations like crowns or traditional fillings can sometimes discolor the tooth.
- Dental damage: Tooth decay or trauma can cut a tooth off from blood flow, causing it to die. This can cause it to take on a grayish color.
- Genetic conditions: Hereditary conditions like dentinogenesis imperfecta can weaken teeth and cause them to develop a blue-grey color.
- Aging: Years of chewing, exposure to staining chemicals, and smoking can take their toll on your teeth, causing them to turn gray, brown, or yellow.
How Can My Dentist Treat Graying Teeth?
Luckily, dentists have several ways that can dramatically whiten a smile. Teeth whitening treatments can come in the form of an in-office procedure or a take-home kit and can leave your smile up to ten shades whiter. If stains are not responding to whitening, covering them up with dental bonding or porcelain veneers can allow a patient to present a bright, shiny smile to the world. In a case where a tooth is dying, the patient will probably require a root canal to prevent tooth loss and further infections.
A lovely smile can be a remarkable asset in both the social and professional worlds. Consulting with a dentist can determine the cause of your graying teeth and what treatments can be used to address the issue.
About the Author
Dr. Ira Newman earned his dental degree from Emory University School of Dentistry and completed a one-year residency at the New York University College of Dentistry/Bellevue Hospital Center. He is proud to serve as a member of the American Dental Association, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the Academy of Biomimetic Dentistry. His office in New York, NY offers general, emergency, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry such as the treatments listed here. For more information on how to whiten grayed teeth, contact his office online or dial (212) 924-6890.