Tooth Trauma Can Cause Darkening In Baby Teeth
Children are full of energy, leading to long hours of rambunctious playtime. Whether your child participates in sports, outdoor activities, or just runs around the house with wild abandon, odds are that with enough time they may have an accident that can damage their teeth. Even a tooth that does not appear cracked or chipped after trauma may be injured. If your child’s tooth changes color or darkens, the tooth is probably damaged. This change of color is not the same as staining from excessive fluoride, medication, or inadequate hygiene.
Tooth discoloration is not always a sign that the tooth must be removed or that the damage is permanent. Often times, damaged teeth will eventually fall out on their own without repercussions to the incoming permanent tooth. Visiting a dentist with pediatric experience to assess the extent of the damage is a good idea.
Red or Pink Discoloration
Sometimes, a baby tooth will turn pink or red after trauma. The time that it takes for red or pink discoloration to appear varies depending on the kind of damage. If the color changes shortly after the injury, it is likely due to broken blood vessels inside of the dental pulp (the soft tissue inside of every tooth). Blood will start to fill the pulpal area, causing the discoloration. This condition is called pulpal hyperemia. The tooth may eventually regain its normal color, or could darken to grey over time.
A pink or red hued spot forming on the crown of the tooth (often called a Pink Tooth of Mummery) indicates a condition called internal resorption. Sometimes after trauma, cells called odontoclasts start eating away at the hard tissue of the tooth. As the tooth thins, its opaqueness shows the color of the dental pulp underneath. This kind of injury is often monitored until the natural crown is nearly dissolved. At that point, if the tooth is causing discomfort to the child or compromising their oral health, it may be removed.
Darkening after Trauma
Damaged blood vessels in the tooth sometimes cause the tooth to darken 2 to 3 weeks after an injury. Things like iron carried by the blood can make their way inside of the hard tissue layer of the tooth. As the blood breaks down, the tooth may appear gray, brown, and sometimes black. In many cases, the tooth will regain its normal color over time, but the crown sometimes keeps the darker tint indefinitely. If the tooth’s color does not improve over time, it may be necrotic.
Treatment of Discolored Baby Teeth
Trauma may not always lead to the loss of the baby tooth, but having the tooth examined by a professional could help prevent complications and pain later on. A dentist will be able to x-ray the damaged tooth to check for infection or swelling under the tooth which could indicate the tooth has died. Depending on the extent of the damage, the tooth may be left alone to fall out naturally as the permanent one comes in. Infection under the tooth could require treatment or removal of the tooth.
If you have concerns about the health of your child’s teeth, please call 303-759-5652 today for an appointment with a Denver dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.