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Brushing habits in young children leave a lot to be desired, as a Chicago study reveals a mere 45% of caregivers brush their child’s teeth twice daily or more. Shockingly, this inadequate oral hygiene has resulted in a concerning average plaque score of 1.9 out of 3, signaling a widespread issue of dental plaque in toddlers.

Did you peek into your child’s mouth recently and notice a grey tooth?

Don’t panic! While a grey tooth can be alarming, it’s not uncommon. There are often simple causes and solutions for this common pediatric dental issue. Below is a guide that explores everything you need to know about grey teeth in children.

Causes of Child Tooth Discoloration: Why Does Your Child Have a Grey Tooth?

A grey tooth often shows an underlying issue that needs attention. The discoloration can result from various factors. Let’s explore some common causes of grey teeth in your children.

Tooth Trauma

Let’s face it, kids are little risk-takers. They climb, they jump, and sometimes they fall. If your child fell or got a bump to the mouth, a grey tooth can be the result.

When your child’s tooth gets injured, tiny blood vessels inside can break. This causes blood to seep into the dentin, the inner layer of the tooth.

The internal bleeding can discolor your kid’s tooth, making it appear grey. If you suspect your child has injured their tooth, consult a Chicago pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Tooth Decay

Does your kid have a sweet tooth? When your kid takes sugary treats, they linger in their mouth. This creates a breeding ground for plaque and bacteria.

Over time, this plaque hardens into tartar, leading to teeth cavities. If left untreated, cavities can cause the tooth to decay and turn grey.


Fluoride is essential for strong teeth. However, too much fluoride can be bad. If you live in an area with fluoridated water, using fluoridated toothpaste may be unnecessary.

This can lead to a condition called fluorosis. While mild fluorosis may appear as white spots, severe cases can cause grey discoloration.

Talk to your dentist about the appropriate fluoride intake for your kid. It helps you ensure you’re getting the right amount for healthy teeth.

Medication Side Effects

Did your child recently take antibiotics?

Certain medications, like tetracycline when taken during tooth development can lead to grey discolored teeth in a child. If you’ve noticed a change in your child’s tooth color after medication, discuss it with your pediatric dentist. They can help you explore solutions.

Pulp Necrosis

Pulp necrosis refers to the death of the pulp tissue inside the tooth. This can happen due to untreated tooth decay or trauma. When the pulp dies, it can no longer nourish your kid’s tooth and can cause a grey/black appearance.

Enamel Hypoplasia

Enamel hypoplasia is a condition where the enamel doesn’t develop well. This can make the tooth appear discolored, making it more susceptible to damage.

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta (D.I.)

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta (D.I.) is a rare genetic disorder affecting the development of dentin. This condition can cause teeth to appear grey. What’s more, the disease can make your teeth brittle and prone to chipping.

Discolored Teeth in a Child: When to See a Chicago Pediatric Dentist

If your child has a grey tooth, scheduling an appointment with a Chicago pediatric dentist is vital. Here are some signs your kid’s grey tooth needs immediate attention:

Pain or Sensitivity

A healthy tooth shouldn’t cause any pain or discomfort. If your child complains of pain when biting down on the grey tooth, it can be a sign of an underlying issue.

Swelling in the Gums

Healthy gums should appear pink and firm. Inflammation or swelling around the grey tooth can be a sign of an abscess. This infection can spread if left untreated, causing more damage to the tooth.

Loose Tooth

A grey tooth that feels loose can be a sign of advanced decay. What’s more, it can cause damage to the supporting bone structure.

How to Identify the Cause of Grey Teeth in Your Child

If your child has a grey tooth, you should schedule a dental visit. They’ll be able to examine the tooth and determine the underlying cause. During the examination, the dentist may perform the following:

Step 1: Medical History Review

Your dentist will review your child’s medical history, including any medications they take. It can provide clues about the cause of the grey tooth.

Step 2: Visual Inspection

The dentist will closely inspect the tooth and look for signs of trauma or decay.¬†They may also check for any cracks or chips in the tooth’s enamel.

Step 3: Radiographic Examination

Next, they’ll use X-rays or imaging techniques to look at the tooth’s internal structure. This helps to identify any underlying issues.

Step 4: Sensitivity Testing

The dentist may assess the tooth’s sensitivity and overall oral health. This will help you pinpoint the cause of the discoloration.

Step 5: Dental Treatment

Once they identify the cause, your kid’s dentist can recommend an appropriate treatment plan. This may include procedures like root canals, tooth whitening, or dental crowns, depending on the underlying cause.

Get Healthy Child Teeth: Treatments for a Grey Tooth in Children

While a grey tooth isn’t ideal, it’s treatable. Learn about the different types of treatments your dentist may recommend.

Tooth Whitening or Bleaching

If the grey discoloration is due to surface stains, the dentist may recommend tooth whitening. This can help lighten the tooth.

Root Canal Treatment

If the grey tooth is the result of pulp necrosis or a deep cavity, the dentist may recommend a root canal treatment. This procedure involves removing the damaged or infected pulp and sealing the tooth to prevent further damage.

Tooth Extraction

Sometimes, the grey tooth may be too damaged to save. Your kid may need a tooth extraction if the grey tooth is due to tooth decay causes.

Achieve a Healthy Smile for Your Child

A grey tooth in your child’s smile can be concerning. To get treatment options, you need to understand the underlying first. Looking to address any pediatric dental issues?

Look no further than Brushin’ on Belmont. Our Chicago pediatric dentist will ensure your kid restores their beautiful confident smile.

Don’t wait. Schedule an appointment with us today!