When Teeth Change Color...
Sometimes our front teeth may change color after injury, such as fall from bicycle.
It may happen to baby tooth (Fig.1: *) or adult tooth (Fig.3). If there is no infection associated with the baby tooth, we do not have to do anything. Just watch. The baby tooth will come out sooner or later. Above the baby tooth (Fig.2: *) is an adult tooth (A). The infection of the baby tooth at root tip may interfere with the developing adult tooth. In this situation, the baby tooth needs treatment.
After an adult tooth suffers from trauma, it should be watched more closely, although it may have no pain at all. The injured tooth in Fig.3 not only changes color severely, but also becomes longer. It is very mobile. It should be extracted, because the root tip infection (Fig.4: white *) destroys all the bone surrounding the root. The doctor can tell that this tooth has a history of injury, because the affected tooth (black *) has no nerve, whereas the neighboring tooth has (arrowheads).
In brief, after injury to our front teeth, the baby tooth does not need treatment if there is no infection. In contrast, the adult tooth usually does need to be watched more closely and to receive treatment as soon as needed.
Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 09/08/2011, last revision 09/10/2011