What causes a black tooth?

  Amazing Smiles   Estimate Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are several reasons why a tooth may appear black, include:

  • Gradual staining
  • Bacterial buildup
  • Decay from damaged enamel or tartar buildup
  • Tooth trauma, such as the impact on the tooth
  • Metal fillings or dental crowns that contain silver sulphide
  • A bruised or dead tooth

causes of a black tooth A black tooth can also be linked to:

  • The frequent consumption of dark foods and drinks
  • Certain medications
  • Uses particular mouthwashes or toothpaste
  • Tobacco. Further research has found that other recreational drugs can drastically affect the health of teeth and gums. Drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy, amphetamines, methamphetamines, heroin, and replacement alternatives such as methadone can cause black teeth staining.

The most common reasons for black tooth discolouration are Decay or Cavities. Unfortunately, hidden Decay or Cavities are sometimes undetected by patients. Professional dentists can only identify decay with x-rays or proper dental examinations from a dentist.

Unknown oral health issues further support the significance of visiting your dentist regularly as dentists thoroughly examine your teeth with special instruments.

Unless teeth suffer trauma, causing damage to the root or nerve, it’s unlikely that a tooth will suddenly appear black.

Natural stains or decay gradually develop over time with poor oral hygiene.

What is a bruised or Dead Tooth?

When teeth are hit with significant force that causes a fracture, chip, or impact the nerve, blood may rush to the area. Subsequently, the bruised tooth with blood travelling to the affected area results in inflammation. Unfortunately, this causes the tooth to internally “die”, eventuating in its distinctive black colour.

What is Black Tartar?

When harmful bacteria build up in particular areas, the collection of bacteria begins to form a substance known as plaque.

Over time, if left untreated, plaque gradually hardens and becomes tartar, also known as dental calculus.

Tartar usually tends to glue and bond itself to the outer enamel of your teeth. The colour of tartar is usually either white or yellow, but depending upon the foods consumed or other oral health reasons, it may be brown or black.

The following factors could contribute to black tartar:

  • Smoking
  • Diets high in sugar
  • Beverages with staining colours such as coffee, dark soft drinks, wine, or other dark drinks
  • Damage to the tooth’s enamel
  • Trauma or damage to the tooth’s enamel

Dentists can remove black tartar from teeth and the gum using a procedure known as scaling. Treatment consists of using special dental instruments and materials. If black tartar is noticeable in the mirror, it is vital to have this removed as soon as possible as it may lead to gum disease.

How can a black tooth be treated?

There are different treatment methods that a dentist may propose for a black tooth. These may vary based upon the reasons that may have caused the darkening of the tooth to occur.

If the damage has travelled extensively throughout the tooth with gum infection, root canal therapy by an endodontist could be proposed. Endodontists specialise in treating the inside of the tooth, known as dental pulp. As a result, this helps save the natural tooth from potential extraction while also stopping the pain caused by the infected tooth and gum.

If the blackening of the tooth or even surrounding teeth is on the surface, tooth whitening may help to lighten the shade of the colour.

There are instances where tooth whitening and composite are used to revive the tooth. This procedure involves teeth whitening to lighten the shade, almost like an undercoat method used by Painters, and then composite resin is masked over the top.

Alternatively, a dentist may recommend a dental crown or porcelain veneer as an outer shell to cover the blackened tooth. This procedure, particularly with a dental crown, involves shaving down the outer layer of the tooth and then placing a porcelain ceramic crown over the top.

Dentists precisely match the colour of the ceramic crown or veneer to the surrounding teeth so that the restoration is indistinguishable to the eye.

fixing black tooth at amazing smiles

Visit our experienced general and cosmetic dentists near you

It’s best to seek professional advice from your nearest dentist to discuss the best treatment options for your needs. Our goal is to make all of our patients confident and proud in their smiles. We have dental clinics throughout South East Queensland and provide flexible payment plans.


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