It's no secret that teeth can grow discoloured over time. This can be down to anything from drinking too much coffee to simply not brushing as much as you should, but patients will normally notice staining or darkening across all their teeth. However, you may sometimes notice that only one of your teeth is growing darker. This can be even more upsetting since a single dark tooth will be more noticeable. It can also be caused by a serious dental issue, so it's well worth seeing your dentist as soon as possible.
With that in mind, here are just four common reasons why a single tooth may darken.
1. Disrupted Blood Flow
If you get hit particularly hard in the mouth, you might think your teeth have escaped damage simply because there are no chips, cracks or signs of looseness. However, trauma can disrupt the flow of blood to a particular tooth. This means that the tooth will no longer be receiving the blood and nutrients that it requires, in which case it will start to darken. This can be temporary, but in many cases, the nerve can die. When this happens, the tooth may need to be removed.
2. Dentin Overproduction
Another cause of single-tooth discolouration associated with trauma is the overproduction of dentin. You're probably already familiar with enamel, which is the tough outer layer of your teeth. The dentin is the layer beneath that, and it is dark while enamel is white. After trauma, a tooth may start producing more dentin, and that colour can show through your enamel, creating a darker appearance.
3. Dental Restorations
In some cases, a dental restoration that was otherwise successful may lead to discolouration. This is common when metal amalgam was used for a filling, which is why such fillings are often replaced. However, other fillings that originally matched the colour of your teeth may darken over time. In either case, the darkness can show through.
Most people assume that decay will be easy to notice, and yet it can be very hard to spot. When tooth decay gets to the softer tissues of your teeth, it can start to affect the root. This can eventually cause the root to die, in which case it's common for the affected tooth to slowly discolour. Such discolouration can often be removed through root canal therapy since the dead tissue will be removed and the tooth will be sealed.
Contact a dental service for more information.