Dental Tips Blog


Difference in Tooth Coloration Between Adult and Baby Teeth

One of the biggest concerns that parents have when they bring their children to the dentist is the appearance of the erupting permanent teeth compared to the nearby baby teeth that are still present. Not only are the permanent teeth larger or shaped differently, but also they are also typically darker in appearance than the baby teeth. This significant difference in tooth shade is more noticeable when there are still baby teeth in the mouth, because side by side the teeth are very contrasting.

Many parents ask their pediatric dentist about correcting the darker color of their child’s adult teeth. The actual darker shade of permanent teeth is very normal, due to anatomy of the adult tooth. Primary (baby) teeth are whiter because they are made of mostly tooth enamel, which is white in color. Permanent teeth have an inner layer of dentin below the tooth enamel. Dentin is yellow in shade, and shows through the translucent tooth enamel. All adult teeth have varying shades, but when immediately next to a primary tooth, the permanent tooth appears yellow and dark.

As your child begins to lose all of their baby teeth, mature permanent teeth will begin to take their place and create a naturally even smile. The eye teeth (canines) in the corner of the mouth have an even larger amount of dentin and may have a slightly darker hue than others. Around age 12, most children have the majority of their permanent teeth.

Our society places such an emphasis on appearance, but the natural shade of your child’s adult teeth shouldn’t be something that alarms you. Most tooth whitening options should only be used for older teenagers whose teeth have fully erupted throughout their entire mouth.

Posted on behalf of Greencastle Dental


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