Why do I have a dark spot on my tooth?

One concern that Dallas County dentists often hear from their patients regards dark spots on the teeth. Such spots can signal a serious problem, but the symptom can be benign as well. The dentist will need to examine the tooth and the spot to determine the cause of the dark spot.

A number of issues may underlie this dental problem, and the cause will determine the most appropriate treatment.

A dark spot on a tooth may be the result of something as simple as consuming too much coffee or tea. Deeply colored substances can leave stains behind, and those stains may not be eliminated by simple brushing. Tobacco use may have a similar effect. In such cases, dentists may recommend a tooth whitening treatment to eliminate the spot.

Excessive exposure to fluoride during early childhood development can also cause dark spots to develop on the teeth. This condition, called fluorosis, is often associated with brownish streaks or stains on the teeth. These stains may not respond to conventional whitening treatments, so patients may need to explore veneers or other restorations to improve the appearance of teeth affected by fluorosis.

Cavities must also be considered when patients complain of dark spots on the teeth, and this issue warrants prompt treatment. In addition to visually inspecting the tooth, the dentist may also take x-rays to diagnose tooth decay and to determine the extent to which it has progressed. A small cavity can be restored with a tooth-colored filling, leaving no evidence that decay was ever present.

Similarly, a traumatic injury to the tooth can cause discoloration. If you notice a dark spot that develops after you have suffered some sort of injury to your mouth, bring it to your dentist’s attention as soon as possible. Getting an intervention quickly increases your chances of saving the tooth.

Dark spots on the teeth may be caused by a number of conditions, so it’s important to see a dentist soon after spotting this symptom. If the discoloration is caused by some damage to the tooth, timely treatment can save your tooth and your smile.