Tag Archives: gray tooth

Is a Gray Tooth a Dental Emergency?

I have a tooth that’s turning gray. I’ve tried whitening it but it didn’t help. I wondering if something serious is wrong. Is this like a dental emergency? What if I don’t have a regular dentist?


Dear Carrie,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair

A gray tooth is usually a sign that the tooth is dead or dying. Is there a chance that you’ve had some recent trauma to your mouth? That would explain the tooth. You do need to see a dentist soon. You’re going to need a root canal treatment and porcelain crown.

If you don’t have a regular dentist, that’s okay. There are emergency dentists. That’s not a specialty. It just means that they’re regular dentists that are willing to see non-established patients in the case of an emergency. This would be what you need. They’ll take x-rays and get a good look at the damage and go from there.

How Not to Need an Emergency Dentist

Trauma can’t always be avoided unless you’re someone who likes to hang out in front of a ball machine. That’s not recommended.

But, certain things, like tooth infections, can almost always be avoided. The key is regular check-ups. There are usually two reasons people avoid going to the dentist regularly. The first is financial. They don’t have dental insurance so they feel they can’t afford it. Most dentists are willing to let you pay out your treatment. You just need to talk to your dentist ahead of time.

The second is fear of the dentist. Most dental anxieties start in childhood. Some dentists enjoy helping patients with anxiety. Dr. Burba realized that with patients, their fear stemmed from the shot. That’s why he invested time learning how to give pain-free shots. In fact, most of his patients don’t even realize he’s administered the shot at all.

Planning Ahead with Dental Crowns

Like your gray tooth. porcelain crowns will not whiten, even with professional teeth whitening. That’s why it’s important to get them the color you’d like them to be when they’re placed. Your dentist can create them to any whiteness you desire. But, you’ll want your natural teeth to match, so make sure you whiten your teeth before the final color of your crown is decided.

This blog is brought to you by AACD accredited dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Did the Emergency Dentist Damage My Tooth?

I had a toothache and went to an emergency dentist. He did an x-ray and didn’t see a problem, though he said he suspected a tooth was cracked. He did a crown. I’m done with that and now, lo and behold the tooth next to it is suddenly gray. Did he damage it when he did the crown?

Justin L. – Nevada


Before we address possible causes, I want to address the gray tooth. This tooth is either dead or dying. It needs treatment right away before it blows into a full blown infection. Don’t put this off. If you don’t trust this dentist, find another emergency dentist.

As for what happened, there are a few possibilities.

The first possibility is a misdiagnosis. It could have been the tooth hurting you all along. Your other tooth, the one that was crowned, could have referred pain. If you have another dentist look at the x-rays and they say it was a clear misdiagnosis, you could get a refund for the crown.

Another possibility is both teeth were injured simultaneously. Maybe when you traumatized the cracked tooth, you also injured the adjacent tooth, but it died slowly.

A third possibility is they are two completely separate injuries that happened at different times. That’s not the most likely, but is always  a possibility.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.