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The Link Between Dental Trauma and Discoloration

The Link Between Dental Trauma and Discoloration

Healthy teeth and a dazzling smile don’t just look great — they can help you feel great, too. Unfortunately, while teeth are strong, they’re not impervious to damage. If you’ve been hit in the face, had a fall, or suffered tooth trauma in another way, you might find your tooth turning gray. While it can be unsettling, there are ways you can restore your tooth and smile.

At Novi Family Dentistry in Novi, Michigan, Abir Faraj, DDS, offers several options for restoring discolored teeth. If you have a traumatized tooth that looks gray or dingy, here’s how she can help.

How trauma causes discoloration

There’s a common misconception about teeth. Many people think of teeth as being solid and composed of one material. But, like bone, teeth are made up of layers of different materials. And, just as bone has marrow at its very center, a tooth’s center is composed of pulp.

Tooth pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that support the health of your tooth. It’s these nerves that cause pain when you get a cavity or infection, and it’s the pulp part that’s removed when you have a root canal. You can think of it as the “living part” of your tooth. 

When your tooth is damaged by some sort of trauma, such as an impact to your jaw or deep decay, the pulp is often affected. If it’s badly damaged, then the tiny blood vessels may not receive the blood they need to keep the tooth healthy. This can result in a gray discoloration inside the tooth that can make the entire tooth look stained and dingy.

Treating deep discoloration

While superficial tooth stains from food or tobacco can be treated with professional teeth whitening, that’s not always the case with deep discoloration caused by dental trauma. In those instances, whitening agents may not be able to penetrate deeply enough to reach the discolored part of the tooth. Fortunately, there are alternatives that can restore your smile.


veneer is a thin shell made of porcelain that is applied to the front surface of a tooth. And, veneers can be tinted to blend beautifully with your surrounding teeth. So if you have your whole smile whitened before getting a veneer, the veneer can be matched to your other teeth when they’re looking their best.

Dental bonding

Dental bonding is an alternative to veneers. Bonding tends to be less costly than veneers, and treatment can be completed in just one office visit, while veneers typically require two appointments. 

With dental bonding, a special tooth-colored material is applied to the surface of your tooth and then expertly shaped to match the contours of your tooth. It should be noted, however, that bonding material can get stained just like natural teeth, and it’s also not as durable as a veneer. That means you may need touch-ups or replacement treatments more frequently.


Dental crowns are frequently used to restore teeth that have been broken, chipped, or treated with root canal therapy. But they can also be used to “camouflage” a discolored tooth. Unlike a veneer, which is applied to the front surface of a tooth, a crown encases the entire tooth. Crowns can be made from a number of materials, including porcelain, so you can cover the discoloration and strengthen your tooth at the same time.

There are also other methods to whiten a tooth with internal damage. Some treatments use a tiny hole drilled into your tooth to apply a whitening agent to the interior part of your tooth. Dr. Faraj will be able to recommend the best approach based on your tooth health and other factors.

Help your smile look its dazzling best

Even a single discolored tooth can dramatically affect your smile — and your confidence. At Novi Family Dentistry, Dr. Faraj offers multiple options that can help you restore your smile and feel great about the way you look.

To learn more about these and other treatment options that can help you keep your smile looking its best, call 248-418-4542 or book an appointment online with Novi Family Dentistry today.

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