I’ve never had any cavities in my life but just over a year and a half ago, my dentist pointed out that I have a gray tooth. She wasn’t certain if I needed a filling or a root canal and said she wanted to see me again. I never went back because I was anxious about the outcome. The gray tooth is my bottom right molar and it’s partially gray. I have an appointment this week but I feel stressed and think the tooth might be dead. What do you think?
– Brad from Oklahoma
When teeth begin to turn gray it can be a sign that the tooth is dying. Since your dentist was unsure if it was a cavity, this was probably not observed in the X-ray of the tooth.
Teeth can die for no reason, however usually dental trauma or decay is the main cause. Most patients experience pain and sensitivity when trauma or decay occurs. If you are not experiencing any pain, the nerve in the tooth could be dead. A tooth can die from a heavy biting force and clenching of the teeth because the blood supply to the nerve becomes reduced causing death to the tooth. Sometimes people think that if the tooth doesn’t hurt, don’t do anything but here may be dead nerve tissue in the tooth. Leaving this tissue gives bacteria a feasting ground to grow, which does lead to an infection.
It is recommended to have your dentist take another X-ray to see if there are any changes in the tooth. If you feel like she is unsure if the tooth is dead or not we would recommend you visit an Endodontist. An Endodontist is a dentist that had more schooling then a typical dentist who solely specializes in root canal treatments. They use more equipment and different techniques to determine if the tooth has died.