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A discolored tooth can be a real worry for many parents. A tooth discoloration in children (and even adults) generally occurs from some sort of tooth trauma. It is believed that about 1/3rd of all children will suffer some sort of tooth trauma by age of 7. The discolored tooth may be a cause of embarrassment for a child, and the cosmetics of it may bother the parents. The issue that is most important is that a discolored tooth can lead to pain and infection.

Why Does A Tooth Change Color?

When an accident occurs involving a tooth, blood can leak out of blood vessels. The by products of this blood leakage (mainly iron) can make their way into the small tubules inside the tooth. These by products can cause a tooth to appear grey, brown, or even black. The color change usually does not happen right away. It can take about 2-3 weeks before the color change appears. The other color changes could be from deep tooth decay, or a pink/red looking tooth is usually caused by resorption.

Treatment For An Injured Tooth

The damage done inside the tooth is generally irreversible but sometimes it can be repaired especially if it is from decay only. The general rule of thumb is the darker the tooth the higher the likelihood, that the nerve of the tooth has died.

If your child’s tooth has darkened the prudent thing to do is to have your child’s dentist examine it.  If there are other signs that the tooth is dead, has a deep cavity, is resorbing or shows signs of inflammation or an infection. Many of these signs can be seen on the x-ray. The dentist will then diagnose the problem and recommend treatment. Treatments range from a root canal treatment, removing the tooth, or doing a filling or crown. If there is no sign of infection or other symptoms, the dentist may choose to leave the tooth alone. The tooth will eventually fall out on its own and it will maintain space in the meantime for the permanent tooth to erupt. Studies have shown that about 3/4’s of discolored primary teeth normally fall out on their own without any ill effect to the permanent teeth.

Other Color Changes

Other colors can include pink or red. Just like the other colors above, the tooth can turn right away or wait a few weeks.

When a tooth turns red after an accident, it generally means a blood vessel has broken. When this happens, blood leaks inside the nerve of the tooth (pulp). This is referred to as pulpal hyperemia. This can be very difficult to diagnose and over time the tooth may darken as well. The possible long term complication of this is that our body’s defenses may begin to resorb some of the internal layers of the tooth (called internal resorption). As the resorption occurs the pink or red color becomes more noticeable as the tooth structure becomes thinner and thinner. If this occurs, the teeth are either left alone until they fully resorb or they can be removed by your dentist. Resorption can also happen just prior to tooth eruption, the tooth is already on its way to falling out, and the permanent tooth pressure has caused it to resorb from the inside out.

Tooth Discoloration Conclusion

It is the nature of the parent to want to treat their children as quickly as possible. That is precisely what should be done. If you have any concerns about changes in your child’s teeth you should see your dentist immediately to diagnose the problem. Do not leave a potential infection unchecked, ask your dentist what your options are, and make an informed decision in your child’s dental treatment.

Sports mouthguards are completely necessary if you wish to maintain your teeth while participating in a contact activity.

Save Teeth - Wear Sports Mouthguards

Wear Sports Mouthguards to Save Teeth

Dental injuries are the #1 type of facial injury sustained during participation in athletic sports. Victims of total tooth avulsions (knocked out teeth) who do not have teeth properly preserved or replanted may face lifetime dental costs of $10,000 – $15,000 per tooth, countless hours at the dentist, and the possibility to develop other dental problems such as periodontal disease, malocclusion, or collapsed bite.

It is estimated by the American Dental Association (ADA) that sports mouthguards prevent almost 200,000 injuries each year in high school and college football alone.

A properly fitted sports mouthguard must be protective, comfortable, resilient, tear resistant, odorless, tasteless, not bulky, cause little to no interference to speaking and breathing, and have excellent retention, fit, and proper thickness in critical areas.

Types of Sports Mouthguards

Sports mouthguards come in a few varieties. These include the following:

Stock Sports Mouthguards. This mouthguard is typically the least expensive of the mouthguards. It is readily available in most sporting goods stores. Their prices range from a few dollars to about 25-30 dollars maximum. These sports mouthguards are ready to be used right out of the package. This type of sports mouthguard has some serious drawbacks. They tend to be quite bulky and lack any real retention. These will therefore interfere with speech as well as breathing. These mouthguards are often modified by the user further reducing protection and retention. This sports mouthguard is the least amount of protection.

Boil and Bite Sports Mouthguards. This is the most common type of sports mouthguard in use today. These are also available at most sporting goods and drug stores and are also considered fairly inexpensive. These are a giant step up from the stock sports mouthguards. These tend to fit far better since they are shaped by each athlete’s mouth and teeth. Hot water is all that is needed to adjust the plastic comfortably around the teeth and gums. These sports mouthguards are made from a thermoplastic material that is immersed in

Sports Mouthguards to save teeth

Save Your Teeth – Sports Mouthguards

boiling water and then formed in the mouth using biting, finger, and tongue pressure. Even this can be a challenging task for some so it may be best to contact your dentist when using even these to ensure they fit properly and cover the teeth sufficiently for protection. These sports mouthguards come in only a few stock sizes so they may not fit all participants the same. Many studies have shown that these boil and bite sports mouthguards do not adequately cover all the teeth in a high percentage of high school and collegiate athletes.

Custom Fit Sports Mouthguards. These sports mouthguards are custom designed and fit just for each individual athlete. These are available thru your dentist. The entire process takes about one week to complete. The initial visit will include taking an impression of the upper teeth. This allows the dentist to create a model of your teeth which is then sent off to a dental laboratory. The laboratory technician will make a custom sports mouthguard adjusting it to each athetes preferences and needs and still being fully protective. The sports mouthguard should cover all teeth on the upper arch to be considered to be offering adequate protection. The major advantages to a custom nightguard include:

-Increased retention

-Thinner material to allow for better breathing while maintaining the protection.

-Longer lasting. While custom sports mouthguards will cost more it will last a significantly longer time than the

sports mouthguards - pro form

ProForm Sports Mouthguards

other versions mentioned earlier.

-Personalized. You may choose your color so that you know it’s yours, or team colors/logos. You can also have your name imbedded in the sports mouthguard (a good example of this is the proform sports mouthguards) so that it can be readily identified. You do not want to mistakenly put someone elses sports mouthguard into your mouth!

-More hygienic. the higher quality material is less likely to embed bacteria within your sports mouthguard.

Safety, Safety, Safety

With an increased prevalence of concussions in sports these days athletes sometimes forget a well made custom mouthguard will offer increased protection against

Wearing Sports mouthguards

Do Not Forget Your Sports Mouthguard

concussions as well. Whatever type of sports mouthguard is chosen it is important to wear it at all times when playing. Many athletes do not keep them in their mouths and this is when injuries occur. At first it may seem uncomfortable but if an athlete begins wearing it at a young age they soon do not even realize they are using a sports mouthguard. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature to them.

Enjoy your activities but stay safe from injuries especially dental ones!