Why Does My Child have a Grey Tooth?
Did your child bump his or her front teeth? Darkening of traumatized tooth usually happens 2-3 weeks after the injury. The dark colour doesn’t mean the tooth is dead. In most cases, the tooth is just fine.
Will the Colour get Better?
According to a study out of Israel, 52% of teeth colour fades to light grey or yellow. 48% remains dark grey. In my experience, it can take around 6 months or so for the colour to lighten. It is equivalent to a bruise, except the blood vessels ruptured inside the tooth, so it takes a very long time to heal.
Will the Tooth Get Better?
Best case scenario: The tooth heals itself. The colour lightens to yellow. If it is yellowing, the tooth is forming scar tissue inside. Your child has no pain or discomfort.
Worst case scenario: the nerve of the baby tooth slowly dies over time. In this case, we are more concerned about adult teeth than baby teeth. We can check how the adult tooth is doing on an x-ray. If there is inflammation and infection at the root of the baby tooth close to where the adult tooth is growing, it is not good. In this case, we may see swelling around the gum or pain on the tooth. Very likely, we will need to remove the traumatized baby tooth to protect the adult tooth underneath. The adult tooth may come in with a white or brown spot or a little dimple due to trauma. According to another study from Israel, this is a very likely scenario to happen to a grey tooth.
What Should I Do?
Soft Food: Make sure you give the tooth some time to heal. Avoid using the injured tooth for one week.
Good Oral Hygiene: Make sure you clean the area by brushing and flossing daily. If the injured area is sore, ask Dr. Ella for antimicrobial mouth rinse to prevent plaque from forming.
Baby Root Canal Treatment: This should be done early on, soon after the injury to the tooth. There is some debate whether this is the best treatment for traumatized baby tooth or not. Those in opposition say we should wait and watch. The success rate of a baby root canal is dependant on the extent of trauma. This is not an option for teeth that have signs of infection.
What Should I Watch Out For?
Pain: Your child might not complain and just avoid using the front teeth for chewing. If your child is waking up at night, complaining of the tooth, let us know right away.
Swelling: If there is gum swelling that looks red and angry, it is a sign of infection. Contact Dr. Ella Choi.
Dark Discolouration: if the tooth colour is not getting lighter, very likely there is inflammation process going on inside the tooth. Dr. Ella Choi would like to see your child periodically to closely monitor and make sure the baby tooth is not damaging the adult tooth.
Increased Mobility of Tooth: This is a sign of infection. Contact Dr. Ella Choi right away.
Draining Fistula: When there is pus accumulated underneath the tooth, it can become a fistula. In many cases, it looks like a white pimple on the gum.
What about Grey Adult tooth?
It usually means the adult tooth nerve is dead. The tooth needs a root canal treatment.
Dr. Ella Choi is a certified specialist in pediatric dentistry serving South Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Aldergrove in Beautiful British Columbia.