Why Is My Tooth Discolored?

Why Is My Tooth Discolored?

A bright and beautiful smile often depends on all of the teeth having a generally uniform color, yet sometimes, there are one or two teeth that just don’t look like the others. There may be a few reasons why your tooth might be sticking out from the crowd.


Vital or “live” teeth have a central canal that supplies blood and nerve fibers. When some type of incident or accident damages that area, the nerve of the tooth can shut down. This is not always a painful situation, but it can definitely leave the tooth looking gray or darker than its neighbors. Root canal therapy can allow your dentist to remove the damaged nerve and even bleach the tooth from the inside.


Poor home care and heavy plaque buildup can lead to some really noticeable dark spots over time. Let’s say you have a tooth out of alignment that you don’t brush well. The hardened plaque turns into calculus and creates a pitted texture. Stains tend to build up quickly where the surface is rough.


When enamel first starts to break down, you will often see a white spot that resembles chalk. This early decay can usually be maintained for a long time but if the outside of your tooth gets damaged even further, the outer shell of the tooth breaks down completely and exposes a darker layer underneath called dentin.


Every once in a while those daily habits and indulgences will start to make unsightly stains. Biting on fingernails or ice, nighttime grinding and hard candies can chip off gum line enamel causing abfractions here and there. Abfractions will vary in shade from something close to your enamel color to a dark brown. You might even have just one tooth that is getting too much wear and tear from your habit.

Medical Conditions

Some teeth don’t grow properly due to disruptions during development. Medical conditions and medications can cause teeth to stain from the inside. Others create pits and flaws as the teeth are erupting. If you have one or two teeth that have always looked different than the others, ask your parents if they remember you having any medical issues when you were a child.

No matter the cause, almost every type of dark spot and irregularity can be resolved using beautiful cosmetic dental options. If you want to improve your smile, call us today for a cosmetic consultation!