Blue/Grey Teeth: Causes And Treatment
Not everyone has the luxury of having pearly white teeth. Some have discoloured teeth despite following a strict flossing and brushing regimen. Their teeth are tinted brown, yellow, grey or blue. These discolourations are normal and may not be a reason to panic.
But even then, there are situations where blue and or grey teeth denote an underlying dental problem. In such circumstances, these are some of the possible causes of discolouration:
Natural Tooth Color
Teeth are not always white. They come in different colours and shades. One of the natural causes of tooth discolouration is a genetic condition known as dentinogenesis imperfecta which affects both appearance and tooth structure. The teeth may become translucent, yellow-brown or blue-grey.
The condition also weakens the teeth, leading to rapid wear and breakage and eventual loss of teeth. Individuals with this rare teeth condition may experience speech problems or have teeth alignment issues (1).
Early Antibiotic Exposure
Fetuses and children exposed to tetracycline often develop teeth discolouration as adults. As with dentinogenesis imperfecta, early exposure to this antibiotic causes teeth to develop yellow-brown or blue-grey discolouration (2).
Often the discolouration appears in horizontal stripes. These stains are permanent, and no amount of regular flossing or brushing can get rid of them. However, cosmetic dentistry may have a solution to the discolouration.
Several dental restoration procedures help in restoring chipped, decayed, discoloured, cracked or missing teeth. Although they help correct dental problems, they can result in discolouration. Amalgam fillings can stain teeth a dark grey colour. This usually means that the seal between filling and tooth is no longer adequate and food and drink substances are finding their way in. Such restorations should be replaced to prevent new decay forming.
Glass ionomer, composite or acrylic restorations can also discolour with time. On front teeth, they can be polished or replaced for aesthetic purposes. Gum recession around porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns can result in a black margin where crown used to meet gum due to the metal margin shining through.
When you notice only a couple of teeth turning brown, blue or grey, it might be because they are dead. Though you probably think teeth are lifeless, at their core, they are full of nerves and living pulp. In the event a tooth is damaged as a result of infection or trauma, the nerves and pulp may die, and the tooth may turn black, grey or dark pink. If you think your tooth is dead, book an appointment with a dentist.
Although such dead teeth are painless, they are susceptible to bacterial infection, which leads to an abscess. If a tooth has too much decay, it will have to be removed, where dental implant treatment should be considered to replace the tooth. But if not, we might save the tooth through a root canal.
How to Whiten Blue or Grey Teeth
This is a cosmetic procedure used to lighten teeth and get rid of discolouration and stains, but it is not a one-off thing. Patients have to undergo several sessions of teeth whitening to achieve optimal results. It is, however, an effective procedure for getting rid of extrinsic stains. It cannot be used to whiten teeth which are intrinsically discoloured.
Teeth whitening procedures are classified into two:
- Vital whitening – this is used on teeth consisting of live pulp and nerves. Vital whitening uses whitening gels, toothpaste, and strips.
- Non-vital whitening – this procedure is used on teeth with root canal treatments that are therefore dead.
This process includes carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide as their active ingredients (3).
These are a cosmetic dentistry option which help to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. Patients with chips, cracks, worn teeth, discolouration, and mild tooth misalignment can benefit from these. Dental veneers are custom made to fit your needs. You can choose the specific shade of white that you prefer.
There are several types of veneers, including Porcelain and Lumineers.
These are made from durable and high-quality ceramic which dentists match to the shade of white surrounding the teeth to make them look natural. These are customised for every patient. They fit perfectly and enhance the beauty of a smile. The porcelain used catches and reflects light in the same way the enamel of natural teeth does.
These veneers require minimal prepping time and preserve the structure of the existing teeth for a long time-all while providing you with a rejuvenated smile.
These are also a type of porcelain veneers. However, they have some differences. Unlike porcelain veneers, Lumineers require no or very little tooth preparation for placement.
Before porcelain veneers are placed, the dentist removes some of the enamel. The amount of enamel removed is determined by the thickness of the veneers. This helps the porcelain veneers look more natural. On the other hand, Lumineers are simply bonded over the teeth. No preparation is usually required since they are thin.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that are placed over teeth to restore their size, shape, strength or improve their appearance. There are several types of crowns, including resin, porcelain, stainless steel, and ceramic. Each type has its share of pros and cons. Your dentist will discuss the best option depending on the type of discolouration of your teeth.
Other Reasons for Tooth Discolouration
Some of the other causes of teeth discolouration include:
Some diseases affect the enamel and the dentin and can lead to teeth discolouration. Also, some treatments affect teeth colour. For instance, chemotherapy, as well as neck and head radiation, can cause discolouration.
With age, the enamel wears down and the yellow dentin beneath starts to show through.
Various forms of trauma such as a fall can cause teeth discolouration.
This is the most common form of tooth discolouration, but the simplest to treat. The stains are usually brown and yellow and generally affect the enamel. It is often caused by certain drinks, foods and tobacco products.
Extrinsic teeth discolouration can be treated by a simple scale and polish. It can be followed up by teeth whitening if the patient wishes to lighten the shade of their teeth. This process aims at lifting the stains off the enamel to restore the natural white colour of your teeth.
There are lots of treatment options for blue or grey teeth. And given the tech advancements in the dental industry, the corrections and treatments have become convenient and affordable.
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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.