Black teeth are often the result of decay, trauma or staining. When decay goes ignored, it can cause the teeth to appear black as bacteria enters the enamel. The problem won’t go away on its own.

Is it possible to save black teeth?

Black teeth are often a serious indicator that something’s wrong. If it’s not surface staining, and the tooth is internally black, you’ll need a check-up appointment to identify the root cause, which will determine the next appropriate course of action. Our check-up costs begin from £69, including x-rays, which will reveal the best treatment to save your tooth. For us, nothing is impossible – even if, as a last resort, we need to extract the tooth, we can immediately replace it with a dental implant.

picture of black teeth

Black teeth types

  1. Do you have a tooth that’s suddenly turned dark?
  2. Do you have several teeth that appear black?
  3. Does tooth pain also accompany your tooth discolouration?
  4. Does the tooth have a black spot, or is it turning grey?
  5. Is the black staining spread out or in the crevices and gum line?

As experienced general dentists, we’ve treated black teeth countless times and know that a black tooth is often the first sign of a dying tooth. Often, it’s a major sign of decay or ignored cavities, indicating the need for a root canal.

However, in other scenarios, it can be due to simple staining, caused by improper oral care, smoking, or a tooth impacted by trauma.

Black teeth treatments

Whatever the cause of your black teeth or tooth, the recommended treatments are mostly the same: to improve the appearance of black teeth, save the tooth and protect it, or extract it altogether.

Black lines or stains on teeth

Black stains and lines on teeth form on tooth fissures at the top of the gum line and are often caused by a build-up of food debris, smoking, cavities and poor or improper oral hygiene. If you haven’t had a check-up or a hygiene clean in a while, you might notice these black lines, which can be mostly reversed with a hygiene appointment and AirFlow therapy to blast surface stains. Costs from £69 for half an hour – 1 hour usually recommended (from £132). If AirFlow is unsuccessfully in removing stains, we can investigate tooth whitening to refresh your smile that much more.

A black patch on the tooth

Black patches on the tooth usually indicate a cavity that has grown large or gone ignored allowing bacteria to enter and for decay to grow. The black patch might be followed by tooth sensitivity or pain when biting down and is typically treated with a root canal (from £520), a filling from £150 (depending on the extent of the decay).

Black tartar on teeth

Calculus is a black substance that forms on teeth from a build-up of plaque and tartar. Patients with crooked teeth, for example, might find it difficult to properly clean and floss in these areas which cause a build-up than can only be removed by professional tools and instruments. A deep hygiene clean is recommended – price typically £132 for an hour.

A black dead tooth

If the entire tooth has turned black, it’s a signal of advanced dental decay, where a possible infection is present that has spread to the pulp of the tooth, killing the nerves, and causing the tooth to turn black. In most cases, a black tooth signifies a dead tooth and in cases like these, a root canal (£520), dental crown (from £1,200) or tooth extraction (from £150) might be your only viable option.

Black pockets between teeth

Black pockets between teeth or black triangles form when the gums begin to recede due to advanced gum disease and decay. As gums do not grow back, treatments would involve periodontal therapies to reduce any further gum recession, as well as regular hygiene sessions to control gum disease and cosmetic treatments like bonding to close the gaps.

Don’t ignore black teeth

A black tooth is serious – and if you want to keep your tooth, it’s best to involve a dental professional as soon as possible to prevent decay from overtaking your tooth and rotting it from the inside out. If advanced decay like this is present in the mouth, there’s also the risk that it can spread, which might result in you losing one or more teeth, resulting in more expensive treatments to rehabilitate the mouth.

Most serious cases of black teeth can be treated, but help must be sought before the tooth reaches the point of no return and your only option left is tooth extraction. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse, where the tooth will become more brittle and weaker, putting you at risk for it breaking in your mouth, which would require a more complex extraction.

Jo Haywood-Gordon
Jo Haywood-Gordon
07/03/2024
As a nervous dental patient who has spent many years avoiding attending a dental practice my experience at Perfect Smile Hertford has been nothing but great so far, so thank you, and to Jenny Cader for the referral. All of the staff have been friendly, attentive and professional. They’ve listened and advised accordingly, and haven’t tried to upsell me, merely to advise based on my circumstances and requirements. I’m back in for some minor remedial work and whitening, and for the first time ever, I don’t feel afraid of the dentist!
Faye Lloyd
Faye Lloyd
07/03/2024
The best in every way. Highly skilled, hugely empathetic, caring, professional service. Gurs and his team have given me the freedom to smile again. I’ll always be grateful. Thank you x
Lucy Weedon (Lucy)
Lucy Weedon (Lucy)
30/01/2024
I had my composite bonding done by Sagar Shah, he done an amazing job! Although it’s a small change made to my teeth it’s made the world of difference with my confidence, before I never smiled with my teeth showing but all I do is smile with them now. The whole team at perfect smile makes your feel comfortable from the get go and are always very helpful. I recommended my brother to perfect smile and he couldn’t be happier either. It’s been a year and Sagar is still the most helpful dentist when I have any questions.
Amy Lock
Amy Lock
23/01/2024
Lovely and friendly place Chelsea is really helpful and makes you feel at ease
Kim Robertson
Kim Robertson
23/01/2024
Fabulous service, never had such kind service in any dentist. Amazing team and beautiful surroundings.
Fatima Ruscoe
Fatima Ruscoe
11/01/2024
I have been a patient at perfect smile studio for 20 years I am happy with the treatment I received ,all the staff are very helpful and professional Dr SAGA SHAH is amazing nothing is too much trouble for him . he’s caring and kind and a perfectionist ,and Katy is very helpful and caring .I feel very comfortable when I go for my appointments ,the staff are very welcoming , I definitely recommend the perfect smile studio , thanks to all the lovely people at the perfect smile studio for all the care you have given me over the years
John H
John H
04/01/2024
Incredibly friendly and professional. I had particularly complex surgery and the team were amazing throughout.
Sergey Murals
Sergey Murals
17/12/2023
Great result
Samantha Turner
Samantha Turner
15/12/2023
Very friendly and professional ????
Colin Cotterell
Colin Cotterell
19/10/2023
Excellent service and treatment.

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