Why Is My Child’s Tooth Turning Grey? – Recommendations For 2024

Why Is My Child’s Tooth Turning Grey? – Recommendations For 2024
January 11, 2024

As parents, the developmental milestones of our children, including the growth of their teeth, are closely monitored. From the first baby teeth emerging at around six months to the transition to adult teeth at six years old, these stages are critical for ensuring proper oral health.

Regular dental checkups become integral during these periods, acting as proactive measures to detect and address any emerging issues. However, what if you observe an unexpected occurrence, such as your child’s tooth turning grey? In this exploration, we delve into the possible reasons behind this phenomenon and the recommended steps for parents to take.

Reasons for Grey Tooth Discoloration:


Children are naturally curious beings, often engaged in exploring their surroundings. With exploration, slips, falls, and bumps become a part of their growing up experience. While it is normal for a child to encounter these minor accidents, what might be less expected is the potential impact on their teeth.

A chipped tooth is a common consequence of such incidents, but what may surprise parents is the possibility of tooth discolouration. In the aftermath of trauma, a child’s tooth can exhibit grey, black, brown, or even red discolouration. The reassuring aspect is that this discolouration is typically temporary and tends to fade as the tooth heals.

However, vigilance is crucial. If the grey color persists beyond what would be considered a normal healing period, it may be an indication that the tooth has encountered further complications. It might be a sign of infection or the death of the tooth’s nerve. In such cases, seeking professional advice from a family dentist is imperative. They can perform a thorough examination, diagnose the issue, and recommend appropriate courses of action to ensure the child’s oral health is maintained.

Use of Tetracycline:

Another potential cause of grey tooth discoloration in children relates to the use of the antibiotic tetracycline. If this medication is administered before the age of eight, it can lead to the development of grey lines on the teeth. Additionally, if a child’s mother took tetracycline during pregnancy, it may manifest in the form of grey teeth in the child.

Understanding the medical history, especially medication use during pregnancy, becomes crucial in deciphering the cause of tooth discoloration. If tetracycline is identified as a contributing factor, consulting with a dentist is essential. They can provide insights into potential treatments or interventions to address the grey discoloration and minimize any long-term impact on the child’s oral health.

Childhood Tooth Decay:

Tooth decay in childhood is a common concern for parents, and its impact goes beyond cavities. A decaying tooth, akin to trauma, can disrupt the normal blood supply to the tooth, leading to discoloration. When a tooth is in the process of decay, it may turn grey or exhibit other disconcerting colors, signaling the death of the tooth.

Recognizing the signs of tooth decay and taking prompt action is crucial. Making an appointment with a dentist becomes imperative when parents notice any discoloration in their child’s teeth. The dentist can assess the extent of decay, provide appropriate treatments, and guide parents on preventive measures to safeguard their child’s oral health.

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta:

While rare, dentinogenesis imperfecta is a hereditary disorder that can result in notable tooth discoloration. In this condition, teeth, both baby and permanent, may appear blue-grey. Beyond the discoloration, dentinogenesis imperfecta weakens the teeth, making them prone to breakage.

Though the likelihood of a child having this disorder is low, awareness is key for parents. Identifying early signs and seeking professional dental care is essential if dentinogenesis imperfecta is suspected. Dentists can employ various interventions, such as dental fillings for children or more complex procedures like veneers, caps, crowns, or bridges for older patients, to address the challenges associated with this rare condition.

Recommendations and Next Steps:

Understanding the potential reasons behind a child’s tooth turning grey is the first step, but the subsequent actions are equally important for maintaining optimal oral health.

Encouraging immediate dental examination is paramount. Regardless of the suspected cause—be it trauma, tetracycline use, tooth decay, or a rare disorder like dentinogenesis imperfecta—professional diagnosis is essential. Parents are urged to schedule an appointment with a family dentist who can conduct a thorough examination, identify the root cause, and formulate a tailored treatment plan.

The recommended steps following the dental examination may vary based on the specific diagnosis:

  • Trauma: If trauma is identified as the cause, the dentist may monitor the tooth for healing and intervene if complications persist.
  • Tetracycline Use: Management may involve cosmetic treatments to address the grey lines caused by tetracycline, ensuring minimal impact on the child’s appearance and confidence.
  • Childhood Tooth Decay: Treatment for decayed teeth may include fillings, crowns, or other restorative procedures, accompanied by guidance on preventive measures like proper oral hygiene and dietary habits.
  • Dentinogenesis Imperfecta: For this rare disorder, the dentist will develop a comprehensive treatment plan based on the severity of symptoms. This may include dental fillings for children or more advanced procedures for older patients.


In conclusion, the discovery of a grey tooth in a child can be concerning for parents, but it is crucial to approach the situation with a proactive mindset. Understanding the potential causes, from common occurrences like trauma and tooth decay to rarer conditions like dentinogenesis imperfecta, empowers parents to seek timely professional assistance.

Regular dental checkups and immediate action upon noticing any discoloration are key elements in ensuring a child’s optimal oral health. The Halo Dental Clinic stands as a welcoming facility for new patients in New Westminster and the surrounding areas, ready to provide the necessary expertise and care to address any concerns related to a child’s grey tooth.

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