Black Teeth: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment (2023)

Black teeth can be a concern for many people; a black tooth will affect your smile and impact your confidence. If you have a black tooth, read on to find out more about the symptoms and causes and treatments that may be available.

What causes a tooth to go black?

There are many reasons why a tooth can begin to go black, anything from simple staining to the death of the tooth can cause blackness and darkening.

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can cause your tooth to go black. In the early stages, this is likely to be staining from substances like tobacco, red wine and strongly coloured food. If your oral hygiene routine is not thorough enough to remove the acid-excreting bacteria each day, the acid will slowly eat away at your tooth.

As the tooth gets eaten away, tooth decay sets in. Tooth decay naturally looks black and can give the appearance of a black tooth. This gives the look of rotten teeth and is a classic result of not looking after your teeth for a considerable period of time.

The death of a tooth

When a tooth dies, the blood supply – which gives the tooth its natural, healthy colour – will stop. Because the tooth is not receiving the nutrients it needs, it will begin to necrotise, darken, die and slowly go black.

Black Teeth: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment (1)

Will my tooth go black after root canal?

A common misconception is that a tooth will go black after a root canal treatment. Teeth will often go black before root canal treatment as the tooth rots and decomposes on the inside. If root canal treatment is done well, all of the decomposing tissue will be removed and the blackness will not get worse. There may, however, be some mild darkening of the tooth after a root canal, depending on exactly how the root canal treatment is done and with which material.

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How long does it take for a tooth to go black?

If the cause of the blackness is due to tooth decay, the blackness can happen over a period of years. If the cause of the blackness is trauma, as soon as the blood supply has been cut off from the tooth, the internal tooth tissue will begin to die and turn black.

Will a dead tooth go black?

If a dead tooth is left untreated, it will go black as the internal tooth tissue dies and decomposes. If the dead tooth has been root treated with a tooth-coloured treatment, the tooth may not go completely black, although it may darken slightly.

Will my chipped tooth go black?

If the chip in your tooth is just in the enamel (the hard outer layer of your tooth) then, so long as you keep the tooth clean, the chances are it will not go black. There is no need to see a dentist urgently, simply make an appointment at your earliest convenience to discuss how this can be repaired.

If the chip in your tooth goes through the enamel and into the dentine (the softer part of your tooth) then the dentine may pick up stains more readily and go dark. Because the dentine is softer, it will also be more prone to dental decay causing a black tooth. You should see a dentist about this; however, it would not be considered an emergency appointment unless it is accompanied by pain.

If the chip goes all the way through the enamel, dentine and down to the pulp (the living blood supply part of your tooth) this will more than likely be extremely painful and you may even see blood from the chip. If this is left untreated, not only could you be in extreme pain but the tooth could begin to die and will almost certainly go black. You will need to see an emergency dentist as soon as possible.

Black Teeth: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment (2)

I hit my tooth- will it go black?

If the tooth has simply been knocked or hit, then it will not necessarily go black. If, however, the tooth has been hit so hard as to damage the blood supply then the tooth may begin to go black if the nerve dies. If you have hit your tooth and there is bleeding around the gum margin, we recommend you visit an emergency dentist to have an assessment.

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Is a black tooth painful?

When the nerves within the inner layer of a tooth are damaged, which often happens as a result of injury or decay, they stop providing blood to the tooth. This leads to teeth gradually dying.

Discolouration is typically the first sign of a dying tooth, but many people also experience pain in the dying tooth or surrounding gums. As the discolouration increases, it’s likely that the pain will also intensify until the nerve dies completely, resulting in a black tooth.

A dying or dead tooth isn’t necessarily painful – not everyone experiences pain, and of those who do, some might only experience mild pain, while others may find it extremely painful. However, the remaining tissue inside the black tooth may become infected, resulting in gum inflammation and aching pain in the area around the root of the tooth.

If left untreated, the infection can spread, eventually forming an abscess. This can lead to a near-constant throbbing pain that makes it difficult to eat, concentrate, or sleep.

To avoid this, you should contact a dentist as soon as possible when you notice the signs of a dying or dead tooth – especially if it’s causing you pain. While you wait for treatment, you can manage the pain with anti-inflammatory painkillers and avoid eating hard foods or drinking hot beverages.

Can a child suffer from black teeth?

Yes, babies and children can also develop black teeth in some cases. Small children often experience various scrapes and tumbles while playing, so it’s not uncommon for them to bump their teeth.

This may lead to a tooth turning dark in colour, as it’s essentially ‘bruised’ on the inside. However, milk teeth can often recover from mild knocks and return to a normal shade over several months.

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If the injury is more severe, especially if it results in a chip or crack that exposes the inside of the tooth, this can lead to nerve death and infection, which can also be very painful.

If your child’s tooth starts turning black or grey and they’re experiencing pain in or around the tooth, you should make an appointment with a children’s dentist right away. The sooner it’s treated, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved.

As milk teeth will eventually fall out to make way for adult teeth, you might think that having a rotten milk tooth removed wouldn’t matter too much – but damaged and missing milk teeth can affect the alignment, spacing, and health of your child’s adult teeth.

It’s better to be safe than sorry, and take your child to a dentist as soon as possible to assess the level of damage and how the tooth can be restored.

Treatments for a black tooth

Black spots on teeth can be treated quite simply, these can often be caused by a small pit or chip in the tooth which either picks up staining or has a small amount of decay. Your dentist can usually remove a small amount of tooth around this area, removing the staining and/or decay and placing a some tooth-coloured bonding material over this area. The tooth bonding will blend in naturally with your surrounding teeth, making the repair invisible.

Black lines on teeth can similarly be treated with dental bonding. If the black line on the tooth is at the gum margin and you have a dental restoration such as a veneer or crown.

Dead tooth whitening is also possible. This is whitening with a peroxide gel which can whiten teeth significantly; however, sometimes teeth whitening alone is not enough to whiten a dead tooth and some form of restorative option needs to be considered, either a dental veneer or a dental crown.

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Black Teeth: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment? ›

Rotten teeth: A cracked or broken tooth can rot from the inside, which will make it turn black. The black appearance occurs due to the decomposition within the tooth itself. If you have a rotten tooth you will require a root canal. Root canal treatments do not cause a tooth to turn black.

Why do teeth suddenly turn black? ›

Poor oral hygiene

If your oral hygiene routine is not thorough enough to remove the acid-excreting bacteria each day, the acid will slowly eat away at your tooth. As the tooth gets eaten away, tooth decay sets in. Tooth decay naturally looks black and can give the appearance of a black tooth.

What happens when your teeth turn black? ›

One of the main causes of a gray or black tooth is decay, which can develop as excess tartar and plaque build up over time. Fortunately, tooth decay can be reversible in the early stages, but can cause permanent damage to the tooth when it becomes more progressed and causes the tooth to turn black.

How do you get rid of black teeth? ›

Brushing your teeth twice a day with a tooth whitening paste that includes fluoride can help remove food debris and plaque, as well as surface stains. Ingredients can include peroxides and baking soda, with baking soda being the desirable abrasive for stain removal.

How can I fix my black teeth naturally? ›

How to whiten teeth naturally
  1. Making dietary changes. Eliminating foods that mark the teeth can prevent further staining. ...
  2. Trying oil pulling. ...
  3. Brushing with baking soda. ...
  4. Using hydrogen peroxide. ...
  5. Whitening with fruit. ...
  6. Chewing high fiber foods.

What deficiency causes black teeth? ›

Iron must be in sufficient amounts in saliva so that lactoferrin can bind it and as a result making the black stains appear. In iron deficient anemia and in iron overload the concentration of iron present in saliva is much higher than in individuals with no anemia.

What drugs cause teeth to turn black? ›

Methamphetamine users have black or stained and rotting teeth. Most often these teeth cannot be saved. There are several factors in the use of methamphetamines cause destruction to the oral cavity: The “Buzz” from meth last about 12 hours, during the “buzz” the user will crave sugary substances, like soda and candy.

Can black teeth make you sick? ›

Although not an immediate consequence, dentists strongly advise that letting rotten teeth go unattended can lead to blood poisoning. This happens because the rot from the teeth keeps getting deposited into the mouth, and in most cases, it's swallowed along with saliva.

What vitamin deficiency causes teeth discoloration? ›

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in teeth and gum health. It helps you eliminate the bacteria that cause plaque buildup, leading to discolored teeth over time. If you have tooth stains or your gums appear redder than usual, it could be due to a lack of vitamin B12.

Is teeth blackening permanent? ›

They dye them a black color, which is lasting, and which preserves their teeth until they are very old, although it is ugly to look at.

Does black tooth mean infection? ›

The tooth may also appear black when damage occurs from the inside. The most common causes of black teeth in these cases are decay or cavities. For example, a tooth with a pulp infection or a dead tooth may turn black. The damage starts on the inside and works its way to the surface.

Can black teeth be reversed? ›

Luckily, even the more serious causes of a black tooth can usually be fixed through the right dental or orthodontic treatment.

Should black teeth be removed? ›

Sometimes, a tooth may be so damaged or decayed that it cannot be saved. In these instances, a dentist may recommend removing the tooth. Black teeth that are severely stained may be treated with professional stain removal and teeth whitening.

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for teeth? ›

Hydrogen peroxide can be damaging to your gums, your tongue, and your tooth enamel, leading to painful decay that could be costly to repair. Like many chemicals, hydrogen peroxide is only safe in small doses.

How do you know if your teeth are rotten? ›

Symptoms of tooth decay

tooth sensitivity – you may feel tenderness or pain when eating or drinking something hot, cold or sweet. grey, brown or black spots appearing on your teeth. bad breath. an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

How can I regain my teeth color? ›

Top 5 Ways to Fix Teeth Discoloration
  1. Reduce Consumption of Staining Foods. ...
  2. Get Regular Cleanings. ...
  3. Get a Professional Whitening Done. ...
  4. Veneers. ...
  5. Full Mouth Restoration or Smile Makeover.
Apr 10, 2019

What bacteria causes black teeth? ›

The aetiology of black stain is not entirely understood. Ultrasonic investigation suggests that this stain is due to a specific type of dental plaque with tendency to calcify. Its microbial composition is thought to consist of chromogenic bacteria, such as actinomyces and prevotella melaninogenic.

What medications cause tooth discoloration? ›

If you received the common antibiotics doxycycline or tetracycline as a child, your teeth may have discolored as a consequence. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can also discolor teeth.

Can black teeth be caused by iron deficiency? ›

Black color teeth discoloration is due to iron ferric salts and more commonly ferric sulfide and the exact mechanism for tooth staining due to iron salt is unknown. Still, this evidence is more common with the liquid iron supplement exposure used for the prevention and management of anemia.

Which antibiotic turns teeth black? ›

Tetracycline antibiotics are broad-spectrum antibiotics in use since the 1940s. Older tetracycline-class antibiotics have been linked to cosmetic staining of permanent teeth when used in children before the age of 8 years.

How does rotten teeth affect the body? ›

Tooth decay does more damage than simply breaking down your teeth. It can lead to infections that can spread to the other parts of the body, it can increase your risk of heart disease and it can weaken your immune system.

What medications are bad for your teeth? ›

Antidepressants – this range of medicines can cause dry mouth and increase the risk of tooth decay. Antihistamines – can cause dry mouth and an increased risk of gum problems. Antihypertensives (taken to reduce blood pressure) – can lead to an increased risk of gum swelling and overgrowth.

What autoimmune disease affects the teeth? ›

Sjogren's Syndrome is one of the most common autoimmune diseases that affect dental health.

What is dental sepsis? ›

Dental sepsis occurs when the pulp chamber of the tooth is exposed to the oral cavity or external environment, allowing bacterial localization with resulting infection.

Can rotten teeth cause stomach problems? ›

The short answer is yes — if left untreated, rotting teeth can lead to stomach issues if the infection infiltrates your bloodstream.

What deficiency causes teeth to rot? ›

Vitamin D plays a key role in bone and tooth mineralization, and when levels are unregulated it can lead to the “rachitic tooth”, which is a defective and hypomineralized organ highly susceptible to fracture and decay [35,36].

What are the signs of zinc deficiency in teeth? ›

One of the first indicators of zinc deficiency are bleeding gums and gingivitis. So, if your gums are bleeding, it's time to learn more about zinc!

Can lack of B12 affect your teeth? ›

Vitamin B12 helps to form red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues in your mouth. It also helps to break down homocysteine, an amino acid that can damage tooth enamel. A lack of Vitamin B12 can lead to bad breath, mouth ulcers, and the detachment of the connective tissues supporting your teeth.

Does black on teeth always mean decay? ›

Although dark spots do not always indicate a cavity—they may just be surface stains—you have no real way of knowing. If you spy a black or brown spot on a tooth, your first course of action should be to schedule an appointment with a dentist.

Can you whiten a blackened tooth? ›

Yes! A dead tooth has intrinsic stains, meaning the stains are inside the tooth rather than outside. Therefore, if the traditional application may not achieve the desired result, putting the bleaching agent inside the tooth can be a good alternative.

What color is necrotic tooth? ›

The teeth may become gray or black-brown and then turn dark yellow-brown. The discoloration results from intradental hemorrhage followed by lysis of the red blood cells into products such as iron sulfide that enter the dentin tubules staining the surrounding dentin.

Can a dying tooth be saved? ›

A root canal is the only way to save a dead tooth and involves removing the pulp and cleaning the site to prevent infections. Once the pulp has been removed and the area thoroughly cleansed, a filling will be placed in the opening and the roots will be sealed.

Does a black tooth smell? ›

Absolutely. As odd as it might seem, just as you can smell the odor coming off of a rotting piece of fruit, you can smell the odor released from a rotting tooth.

How do you fix rotten teeth without going to the dentist? ›

It is usually recommended to increase the intake of mineral-rich meats and vegetables, bone broth and healthy fats. Diet rich in gelatin and magnesium may also help heal rotten teeth. Fish oil, olive oil and seafood are high in fat-soluble vitamins, so it is good to include these in your diet during tooth healing.

Can you brush black off teeth? ›

You cannot remove black with extra brushing or flossing; it needs professional cleaning at the dentist's office. In addition, only your dentist will know how to remove black tartar from teeth. They typically use scrapers or scalers to get rid of the black tartar, depending on the level of buildup.

How long do you leave hydrogen peroxide on your teeth? ›

Apply the created paste onto your teeth using a toothbrush. Let the paste remain on your teeth for about two minutes. Properly rinse off the paste from your teeth by gargling water around inside your mouth. Ensure that no remnants of the paste is left anywhere inside your mouth.

How long does hydrogen peroxide take to work on teeth? ›

Generally at this concentration you would need to have your teeth in contact with the 3% hydrogen peroxide for about 5 hours a day for about 2-3 weeks to have meaningful tooth whitening, which is very difficult to do with a watery liquid.

Is it OK to brush your teeth with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide? ›

For deeper cleaning, people safely can mix baking soda with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to create a toothpaste. However, since hydrogen peroxide can sting, people with sensitive teeth and gums should discontinue using this paste if they experience pain or discomfort.

What does a dying tooth look like? ›

A dying tooth may appear yellow, light brown, gray, or even black. It may look almost as if the tooth is bruised. The discoloration will increase over time as the tooth continues to decay and the nerve dies. If you experience any symptoms of a dying tooth, it's important to see your dentist right away.

How much does it cost to fix rotten teeth? ›

Cost of Rotten Teeth

Amalgam fillings costs range $210 to $400. Composite fillings costs range $270 to $450. Silver fillings costs range $370 to $1,100. Ceramic fillings costs range $300 to #4,500.

What are four 4 signs of tooth decay? ›

4 signs and symptoms of tooth decay
  • Pain/toothaches.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold.
  • White or brown spots.
  • Visible pit or hole in the tooth.

How do you treat black teeth? ›

Treatments for a black tooth

Your dentist can usually remove a small amount of tooth around this area, removing the staining and/or decay and placing a some tooth-coloured bonding material over this area. The tooth bonding will blend in naturally with your surrounding teeth, making the repair invisible.

Why is my tooth black? ›

One of the main causes of a gray or black tooth is decay, which can develop as excess tartar and plaque build up over time. Fortunately, tooth decay can be reversible in the early stages, but can cause permanent damage to the tooth when it becomes more progressed and causes the tooth to turn black.

How do you clean black teeth? ›

You can start by avoiding foods that cause teeth staining such as tea, coffee, wine and other such foods. Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and using an alcohol-based mouthwash, is another way to remove black spots from teeth naturally.

Will a black tooth fall out? ›

A dead nerve in a tooth is sometimes referred to as a necrotic pulp or a pulpless tooth. Once this happens, the tooth will eventually fall out by itself. However, it can be dangerous to wait for this to occur, as the tooth can become infected and affect the jaw and other teeth.

How long does it take for a tooth to turn dark? ›

It's important to note that the discoloration will not occur immediately after the injury. It usually takes a couple of weeks for the tooth to start becoming darker. But, rest assured that the discoloration is not permanent and your child's tooth will turn to its natural white color in about three to six months.

What are the symptoms of lack of vitamin D in teeth? ›

Vitamin D deficiency is connected to increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease in the mouth. Nearly every patient with dental disease, also has vitamin D deficiency. Other symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency in adults include tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well.

Why are my teeth rotting even though I brush? ›

Lack of a Nutritional Diet

Feeding the bacteria inside your mouth with their favorite foods will lead to multiplication, wreaking more havoc on your oral health. Bacteria feast off of sticky foods, which can stick to your teeth's surfaces and produce acid. Acidic pH can eventually deteriorate your teeth's enamel.

What to do if all your teeth are rotten? ›

Five Ways to Repair Rotten Teeth
  1. Fillings. ...
  2. Crowns. ...
  3. Root Canal. ...
  4. Extractions. ...
  5. Dentures/Implants. ...
  6. Avoid Sugars and Starches. ...
  7. Practice Oral Hygiene Daily. ...
  8. Visit Your Dentist Regularly.
Jan 28, 2022


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