Abnormal tooth color is any color other than white to yellowish-white.
Many things can cause tooth discoloration. The change in color may affect the entire tooth, or appear as spots or lines in the tooth enamel.
Your genes affect your tooth color. Other things that can affect tooth color include:
Inherited diseases may affect the thickness of enamel or the calcium or protein content of the enamel. This can cause color changes. Metabolic diseases may cause changes in tooth color and shape.
Drugs and medicines either taken by the mother during pregnancy or by the child during the time of tooth development can cause changes in the color and hardness of the enamel.
Good oral hygiene will help if the teeth are stained from a food or fluid, or discolored due to poor cleaning.
Talk to your dentist about abnormal tooth color. However, if the color seems to be related to a medical condition, you should talk to your regular health care provider as well.
Call your health care provider if:
The dentist will examine the teeth and ask questions about the symptoms. Questions may involve:
Superficial and diet-related discoloration may be eliminated with proper hygienic treatment or teeth-whitening systems. More profound discoloration may need to be removed using fillings, veneers or crowns.
Testing may not be necessary in many cases. However, if the health care provider suspects the coloration may be related to a medical condition, testing may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Dental x-rays may be taken.
Discolored teeth; Tooth discoloration; Tooth pigmentation
Tinanoff N. Development and developmental anomalies of the teeth. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 299.
Updated by: Ilona Fotek, DMD, MS, Palm Beach Prosthodontics Dental Associates, West Palm Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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