Occasionally a dental patient will come into the office complaining that the appearance of one particular tooth is changing. The tooth may become grey or brown, obviously much darker than the adjacent teeth. Upon further investigation it may be found out that you had trauma to that tooth. Not just trauma from a day or two ago, but trauma from years or even decade’s back.
How can this be? It’s not very uncommon to see a tooth begin to lose its vitality several years after a traumatic experience, be it a baseball accident, car wreck, or even a child’s head bumping hardly into your mouth. While some tooth trauma is usually seen within days or weeks of the initial accident, teeth can also take a very long time before they show any signs whatsoever that a problem has occurred.
If a tooth becomes discolored several years down the road, there are options available to help preserve the tooth’s integrity as well as maintain an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Root canal treatments may be necessary, or internal bleaching, veneer or crown treatment to keep the tooth appearing the same color as the surrounding teeth.
Being careful to avoid tooth trauma is important. While accidents such as a trip or a car wreck may not be planned around, one can take extra steps when being involved in common traumatic circumstances such as sports and physical activities. Use a high-grade mouth guard that fits properly and will stay in place should there be an accident. In some cases it is suggested that mouth guards can also protect athletes against the risk of concussion. Talk with your dentist about the benefits of a custom fitted mouthguard!
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