No matter how well you care for your teeth, you can sometimes still develop dark spots on your teeth. These spots can either appear black or brown.
Although some types of tooth discoloration and spots on teeth are harmless, other types of black or brown spots can potentially point to a more serious health problem and be a cause for concern. If you notice a dark spot on your tooth, you should always schedule an appointment to have your tooth and oral health evaluated by our dentist Jared Harding.
What Causes Black Spots on Teeth?
To determine the most appropriate way to get rid of a small black spot on a tooth, our dentist first needs to determine the underlying cause of the discoloration. There are several things that can lead to tooth discoloration like black or brown spots.
The most concerning reason why you might have a black spot on your tooth is tooth decay.
Tooth decay occurs when plaque and tartar accumulate on the teeth, allowing sugar, bacteria, and acid to cling to the teeth and eat away at the tooth’s enamel and its mineral structure.
If not diagnosed and addressed in its earliest stages, tooth decay can lead to dental caries, which are small holes in your tooth enamel. These holes tend to look like small black or brown spots on your teeth.
A black spot of tooth decay is usually accompanied by:
- Persistent pain or toothache
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures and sugary foods or drinks
- Pain while eating
- A small pit or hole in your tooth
Silver Diamine Fluoride
A non-invasive treatment for cavities, silver diamine fluoride kills bacteria and arrests tooth decay on the spot. However, it leaves behind a black spot where tooth decay occurred.
This cavity treatment is not commonly used in adults due to the discoloration that can occur. However, it is sometimes recommended for children who develop cavities on their baby teeth or children who have special needs that make it difficult for them to have a cavity drilled and filled.
Fluorosis is a condition that occurs as a result of taking in too much fluoride when your teeth are developing in childhood. It can occur as a result of drinking fluoridated water, swallowing too much toothpaste, and/or taking vitamin supplements that contain fluoride.
Fluorosis can cause tooth discoloration that presents in the form of dark spots or white spots on the teeth.
Other Causes for Black Spots on Teeth
Additional reasons why you might develop a black spot on a tooth include:
- An injury to the affected tooth
- Tartar buildup on the surface of the tooth
- Stains as a result of consuming certain foods or drinks
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Certain medical conditions
How to Get Rid of Black Spots on Your Teeth
Tooth-Colored, Composite Resin Fillings
If the black spot on your tooth is, in fact, a sign of tooth decay or due to an injury to your tooth, then the cavity or injury needs to be treated. Treating the cavity also corrects the tooth discoloration.
Dr. Harding first drills and cleans the cavity, removing all signs of tooth decay and bacteria from the tooth. He then fills the hole with a composite resin filling in a color selected to match the surrounding tooth.
Cosmetic Treatments for Tooth Discoloration
If the discoloration is purely cosmetic and poses no threat to the health of your tooth, then there are a variety of cosmetic treatment options for correcting tooth discoloration that are available to you. These include:
- Professional teeth whitening treatments
- Dental prophylaxis or polishing with an abrasive substance
- At-home teeth whitening products
- Dental bonding, veneers, or a dental crown to cover the tooth discoloration
Depending on the type of stain present and its size, Dr. Harding can help you determine the best cosmetic treatment option to address your tooth discoloration while improving the appearance of your smile.
When to Schedule a Dental Examination
Anytime you notice any visible changes with your teeth or experience tooth sensitivity and other pain, we strongly encourage you to schedule a dental checkup with Dr. Harding and the team at Dentistry of West Bend.
We can talk with you about your symptoms or the changes you have noticed, examine your teeth and gums, take dental x-rays to determine whether there are any problems occurring inside your teeth or below the gum line, and provide you with a diagnosis. Dr. Harding can then answer any questions you might have and discuss your treatment options with you.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about dental caries, tooth discoloration, and the many treatments available to address these kinds of oral health concerns, we welcome you to contact Dentistry of West Bend today.