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Tooth - abnormal colors
Alternative namesDiscolored teeth; Tooth discoloration; Tooth pigmentation
DefinitionAbnormal tooth color is anything other than the white to yellowish-white of normal teeth.
Tooth discoloration can be caused by many different factors. Some influence the formation of the enamel, while others cause the staining of enamel. Discoloration may be uniform or may appear as spots or lines in the enamel. Discolored areas may also have a different density and porosity than normal enamel.
Factors influencing tooth color include genetic, congenital, metabolic, chemical, infectious and environmental. Inherited diseases may influence the thickness of enamel or the calcium or protein content of the enamel. Metabolic diseases may cause both abnormalities of color and shape.
Drugs and medications either taken by the mother while pregnant or by the child during the time of tooth development can cause changes in both the color and hardness of the enamel.
Good oral hygiene will help if the teeth are staining from a food or fluid, or if the abnormal color is the result of poor hygiene.
It is appropriate to consult your dentist for abnormally colored teeth. However, if the color seems to be related to a medical condition, your regular health care provider should also be consulted.
Call your health care provider if
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting abnormal tooth color in detail may include the following:
Diagnostic testing may not be necessary in many cases. However, if the coloration may be related to a medical condition, testing may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Dental X-rays may be performed.
Update Date: 10/20/2003Michael Kapner, D.D.S., Comprehensive and Aesthetic Dentistry, New Rochelle, N.Y., Editor, Ninth District Dental Association. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT