Tooth - abnormal colors

Definition

Abnormal tooth color is any color other than white to yellowish-white.

Considerations

Many things can cause teeth to become discolored. The change in color may affect the entire tooth, or it may appear as spots or lines in the tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard outer layer of the tooth. The discoloration can be either temporary or permanent. It may also appear on many teeth or only one area.

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 taken by a mother during pregnancy or by a child during the time of tooth development can cause changes in the color and hardness of the enamel.

Causes

Some things that can cause teeth to become discolored are:

Home Care

Good oral hygiene will help if teeth are stained from a food or fluid, or if they are 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.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Your dentist will examine your teeth and ask about your symptoms. Questions may involve:

Diet-related discoloration and discoloration that is only on the surface may be eliminated with proper oral hygiene or teeth-whitening systems. More severe discoloration may need to be removed using fillings, veneers, or crowns.

Testing may not be necessary in many cases. However, if your provider suspects the discoloration may be related to a medical condition, testing may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Dental x-rays may be taken.


Review Date: 2/5/2018
Reviewed By: Ilona Fotek, DMD, MS, Dental Healing Arts, Jupiter, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.