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My Tooth Looks Grey

At Camarillo Smiles, we often hear our patients saying, “my tooth looks gray. Should I be worried about it?”

A graying tooth can be serious as it can indicate a serious underlying condition. Thus, it’s vital that you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

What are the reasons of a grey tooth?

One of the main reasons your tooth is turning gray is trauma. If an injury has occurred, the nerves may be dead because of nerve damage.

Nerve damage doesn't immediately result in a grey tooth. Sometimes, it can take years before your tooth will turn gray following a nerve damage. That’s because the damage can take time for the tooth pulp to die completely.

However, if you don’t recall of any trauma to your pearly whites, it’s still highly likely that your gray tooth is the result of trauma that you weren't aware of.

To confirm the cause of your gray tooth, your dentist may recommend an x-ray. If it turns out that your tooth is indeed dying, a root canal may be suggested.

If your tooth dies, the harmful bacteria in your mouth will eat the dying nerve tissue. Then, the bacteria may release a substance that causes tooth discolouration. Now, if it’s left untreated, the dying tooth can be infected, and you may lose your tooth.

As soon as you notice a gray tooth in your mouth, you should visit your dentist ASAP. It’s highly likely that your condition can still be alleviated through a root canal. This option is better than having a bridge or an implant.


Another reason you have gray tooth or tooth discolouration is exposure to antibiotic tetracycline. If you took this drug before you turned six years old, your teeth would turn grey, years later. It’s a lesser common cause of grey tooth than trauma.

In addition to trauma and antibiotic, a grey tooth can also be caused if there’s bleeding in your tooth. If this is your case, the problem may be resolved without treatment. However, it’s not usually the case. Most of the time, discolouration is caused by bacteria that feed on your dead nerve tissue found in your tooth.

Your dentist may recommend bleaching, crowning or placing of veneers. These options can restore your tooth appearance. However, it’s always necessary to undergo a root canal.

If you notice any discoloration of your teeth, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. In this way, you will know what causes the grey tooth, and a possible solution can be identified.

Preventing Grey Tooth

Tooth discoloration can be avoided by practicing excellent oral hygiene. It’s also vital that you visit your dentist regularly so your dentist can identify whether or not you have dental issues that need to be resolved ASAP.

Grey tooth is easier to treat if the condition is still in its early stages. Your dentist can identify the cause of the problem and prevent the issue from worsening. For that reason, it’s always necessary that you have regular dental check-ups. You should have a dental checkup every six months.