Why your child has a dark tooth

If you have kids, you know that they can get themselves into a lot of interesting accidents. Many times when kids get a head injury they knock out a tooth. Other times, they simply hit the tooth really hard and injure it.
It has been estimated that 8-30% of kids under 7 suffer an accident that injures one of their baby front teeth.Any time a tooth suffers an injury, there is a possibility that it may turn a different color. If you’re wondering what it means if your child’s tooth has turned pink, red, gray, black, brown, or yellow, then you’re the reason I wrote this article!

WHEN YOUR CHILD’S TOOTH TURNS DARK (GRAY, BROWN, OR BLACK) AFTER A TOOTH INJURY. DR. DAVID HUERTAS ADVISES US.

When blood leaks out of blood vessels after a tooth injury, blood by-products such as iron can make their way into the small tubes inside the dentin layer of the tooth.  As the blood breaks down, it can make the tooth appear to be gray, dark gray, brown or even black.  This color change doesn’t usually occur until 2-3 weeks after the tooth has been injured and can occur after a tooth has turned red.

At Institut Ortodoncia Barcelona, the orthodontic office of Dr. David Huertas in Sarrià, we advise that the discoloration may be a sign that the nerve of the tooth is damaged or it may indicate a sign of infection. If there are other signs that the tooth is dead such as swelling or an infection that shows up on the x-ray, then your child’s dentist will probably choose to do something about it such as performing a root canal treatment or removing the tooth. If there is no sign of infection in a dark tooth, the dentist may choose to not do anything and let the tooth eventually fall out on its own when the permanent tooth is ready to take on its role in the mouth.

It is important to understand that in the primary dentition of a healthy child, color change alone does not indicate a need for pulp therapy or extraction of the tooth. You can visit us at the Institut Orthodontics Barcelona to follow the proper procedure.

MY CHILD HAS A TOOTH RED OR PINK, IS BROKEN OR INDICATES ANY OTHER INJURIES?

If a tooth turns red shortly after being traumatized, it usually means that the blood vessels inside the pulp broke.  When the blood vessels rupture, blood leaks inside the whole pulp area of the tooth resulting in a reddish pink color.  This condition is known as pulpal hyperemia. The pink/red color may take a long time to go away or it may never go away and the tooth may start to darken to a shade of gray. The Dr. David Huertas from Institut Orthodontics Barcelona explains us that in this type of situation it is advisable to visit your dentist or orthodontist to make the necessary evidence and decide the appropriate treatment.

WHEN YOUR CHILD’S TOOTH TURNS YELLOW AFTER A TOOTH INJURY

The dentin layer of a tooth under the enamel is normally a yellow color.  If a tooth reacts to an injury by laying down a lot more dentin, it is known as pulp canal obliteration (Also called calcific metamorphososis, progressive canal calcification or dystrophic calcification.)The increase in the amount of dentin and the concurrent decrease in the amount of pulp gives the tooth a yellow, opaque color. It is important to regularly follow-up with your child’s dentist about any teeth that have turned yellow after an injury, a small percentage of yellow teeth demonstrate pathologic change many years after the injury.

 

Basically, if your child’s baby tooth has changed color, often the best treatment is no treatment.  As long as an infection doesn’t develop, simply waiting it out and seeing what happens could mean that your child doesn’t have to go through unnecessary dental treatment.  And that’s a good thing, especially after they’ve already been through a traumatic tooth injury.

The Institut Orthodontics Barcelona offer the best personalized care for all family members, especially for the smallest of the house.

Author Info

Dr. David Huertas

Licenciado en odontología por la Universidad de Barcelona, Barcelona 1992. Certificado en ortodoncia por la Universidad de Pennsylvania, Filadelfia, 1999. Desde 1999 dirijo el Institut Ortodòncia Barcelona

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