Grey Teeth

If you notice your teeth turning grey, then you should act fast.

Should you worry about grey teeth?

Worried about grey teeth? Noticing that your tooth is beginning to turn grey? In some cases, it’s natural for teeth to turn grey, which can happen at any age for several reasons. That said, seeing your dentist if you notice a change in your tooth’s colour is crucial, as it might signal that the tooth is dying. Not getting this treated or checked up might mean that the bacteria in the dying tooth might spread, putting other teeth at risk. 

decayed grey tooth

Grey teeth overview

  • Root canals cost from £520
  • Tooth extractions cost from £150

If the dentist diagnoses necrotic pulp as the reason for your grey tooth, your treatment options will include a root canal treatment to save the tooth or an extraction to remove the tooth if it cannot be saved and causing pain. 

Both treatment options remove dead tissue from the tooth and prevent infections from spreading throughout the mouth. If ignored, they will eventually spread. Treatment is important as untreated dental infections can spread to the airway, bloodstream, or brain. 

Bear in mind that even if the dentist clears the infection and saves the tooth, the discolouration will still remain. Tooth whitening can reduce discolouration but other treatments like dental crowns or veneers might be more effective.

Treatments for grey teeth

Teeth whitening is really only applicable for yellow teeth. However, that said, you might still get good results from whitening. It just might not be the most effective choice. This is because the results will largely depend on how dark the tooth is and the cause of your grey tooth.

As decay and trauma are the two leading causes of grey teeth, it’s likely the tooth has died, which means there’s not much in the way you can do to save it. Your treatment options at this stage will likely be tooth extraction and replacing the tooth with a dental implant or, more simply, using a dental crown to cover the affected tooth, a common procedure after a root canal. Additionally, you can choose to conceal the tooth with dental veneers.

However, if we catch the tooth turning grey at the right time, the best next treatment step is to book a root canal. This will allow us to treat the dead tooth to ensure the necrotic pulp is removed and other teeth are not at risk.

Guide to Grey teeth

When to see a dentist about grey teeth

See a dentist immediately if:

  • Teeth appear stained 
  • One or more teeth change colour
  • The colour change is accompanied by pain or sensitivity
  • Your gums are tender, bleeding or feel swollen

Booking an appointment with the dentist will help you to determine the cause of your grey teeth or tooth. The dentist will examine your teeth and gums, taking x-rays and sometimes a pulp test to assess for signs of pulp necrosis, which is the death of your tooth’s pulp. 

Leading cause of grey teeth

Tooth decay is the leading cause of grey teeth. It can cut off the tooth’s blood flow, causing it to die and go grey. Additionally, tooth trauma can also cut off blood flow, resulting in the tooth dying. This might appear first as grey stains or may not result in the tooth changing colour for months or even years, which is why many patients do not realise the cause of their grey teeth or notice until it’s too late.

Other causes of grey teeth

Other causes of black teeth include:

  • Ageing: Teeth can change colour simply due to ageing, which can cause them to look greyish blue. 
  • Deficiency: Sometimes, tooth discolouration can occur from a vitamin deficiency, often found in cases where patients do not get enough vitamin D.
  • Antibiotics: The antibiotic tetracycline can cause discolouration in adult teeth, often featured in a pattern of horizontal stripes. These stains are permanent, and regular brushing won’t help.
  • Dental restorations: Certain restorative procedures, such as dental fillings or metal crowns, can give the appearance of grey or blue teeth, especially if you have a silver-coloured filling (dental amalgam).