Blue teeth imply that the nerves and pulp within the tooth may have died, hence dead teeth. They can also indicate dental trauma, oral health issues, or simply a result of a cosmetic problem.
What causes blue teeth?
Blue teeth have many causes ranging from trauma to infection. Here are some common causes of blue teeth.
Blue teeth can happen naturally!
Our teeth come in varying shades and colors and some of us develop a rare genetic disorder called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This inherited condition forms weaker teeth that are usually blue-gray.
Treating this condition often requires a collaborative effort among pediatric dentists, prosthodontists, and orthodontists.
If the blue teeth symptom of this condition can be diagnosed and treated early in its development, you may be able to prevent further discoloration of the tooth.
Aging causes enamel erosion, and hence you may have blue teeth
Many physical changes come with aging, and your teeth are often not excluded. As we age, our teeth’s enamel erodes, causing either a yellow or blue color change in our teeth.
According to research published in the Journal of Applied Oral Science, the surface characteristics of a tooth affect light transmission, modifying the tooth’s color.
Although dentin is the primary tissue that affects the overall color of a tooth, the role of enamel is not to be overlooked.
Dental trauma may turn your teeth blue
Serious injuries close to the tooth or gum can interrupt the blood flow to the tissue beneath your teeth, causing discoloration.
Your tooth can heal and return to its standard color, but in some instances, it may remain blue.
A paper published in the International Journal of Applied Dental Sciences states that components of hemoglobin disintegrate as a result of trauma and enter the tooth’s tubules. Their presence turns the tooth blue.
The impact of the dental injury may not result in an immediate color change of your teeth. The teeth may change their color gradually or sometime later.
Have you been exposed to antibiotics? Your teeth may change color
Early exposure to antibiotics in the womb or as an infant can cause permanent bluish discoloration in adulthood.
Tetracyclines are useful when combating acne, plague, malaria, cholera, and syphilis. But exposure to 3 grams of Tetracycline for over ten days at a stretch may result in very dark blue teeth.
Tetracyclines travel to teeth through blood. They settle into calcium and cause discoloration.
Dead teeth may look blue
Despite the fact that the concept that teeth themselves are lifeless, beneath your healthy tooth remains nerves and pulp. Once either has died, your teeth will change to a blue-gray color.
When the impact of an injury reaches the pulp of a tooth, blood vessels in the pulp begin to expand. The process of expansion surfaces to us as inflammation. If that process is not controlled on time, the pulp continues to expand, ultimately choking inside the tooth’s hard shell.
It is the dead pulp that gives a tooth its grayish-blue color.
Dental treatments can turn your teeth blue
Dental restorations and procedures are designed to fix existing oral issues. However, some of them may result in tooth discoloration.
Substances used in dental restoration treatments, such as amalgam, porcelain, and ionomer, can begin to peek through your teeth’s enamel layer, giving a tooth a very different shade from the rest of your teeth.
Are blue teeth dead teeth?
While blue teeth can indicate dead teeth, this is not always the case. Blue teeth have many causes, so do not panic. Instead, consult with your dentist to determine the source of your discoloration. It can be a cosmetic imperfection or a result of trauma. Your dentist will conduct the necessary examinations before diagnosis.
Can mouthwash turn your teeth blue?
Some mouthwashes can potentially stain your teeth. This is known as an extrinsic stain caused by dyes and colorings in some mouth rinses. The more you get rid of plaque build-up on your teeth, the less likely dyes will attach it.
However, it is important to note that even with proper oral hygiene, some rinses, particularly Chlorhexidine Gluconate, are known to cause discoloration.
Properly research the ingredients you put in your mouth. Try to select organic products.
Can bacteria turn your teeth blue?
Bacteria can impact the color of your teeth. Bacteria makes you prone to gum disease, which can result in infections and damage to your nerves and the pulp beneath your tooth. Both can affect the overall health of your tooth, making it likelier to become discolored.
In addition, the more bacteria linger in our mouths, the easier our teeth become stained from dyes in oral hygiene products, such as mouth rinses. Excessive bacteria, in any instance, are dangerous for maintaining proper hygiene and health.
Can blue teeth be whitened?
Whitening treatments can potentially improve the appearance of blue teeth. While dentists recommend whitening treatments for yellowed teeth, professionals say the results on blue teeth vary by cause.
The best outcome for whitening treatments is expected with naturally blue teeth. Otherwise, whitening treatments can bleach your teeth unevenly.
Discuss your options with your dental care provider, who can recommend bleaching solutions, whitening gels, strips, or laser whitening treatments depending on the nature of your discoloration.
Can blue teeth be treated at home?
Your dentist can provide in-home whitening treatments for blue teeth. These can include bleaching solutions, gels, strips, or portable laser whitening instruments. These are all typically easy to use, and some can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy.
Along with these options, practicing proper oral hygiene at home equips you with ideal oral health.
However, your dentist might propose a more effective solution that usually is conducted within a dental institution, depending on your needs.
Can blue teeth be saved?
Blue teeth, in most cases, can be improved with professional treatments. The first step is figuring out why your teeth might be blue. Your doctor will examine both your gums and teeth. They may also perform an x-ray to inspect the tooth’s health better.
In some cases, they may carry out a pulp test to examine for any indicators of pulp necrosis, more commonly known as dead tissue.
How to fix blue teeth?
Dental professionals have devised a few plans to combat blue teeth. Here are some:
Whitening treatments, including gels, strips, laser, and bleaching treatments, can be used either in the office or at home to help reduce the bluish appearance. This treatment option is the simplest and most cost friendly but may not work for all cases of blue teeth.
Dental crowns are tooth-shaped caps that professionals place over your damaged teeth. This option completely hides your blue teeth and is entirely safe. Some crowns are made of ceramic, porcelain, stainless steel, or resin. Besides hiding the blue teeth, crowns provide renewed strength to your tooth and prevent further decay of your natural tooth. Well-maintained dental crowns typically last up to 15 years and do not require any special care.
These are wafer-thin, custom-made tooth-colored shells attached to your teeth’ front surface. Often made of porcelain, these semi-permanent shells hide imperfections.
Veneers require a few dentist trips for consultation, fitting, and application. You will be given the option of choosing your shape, size, length, and shade.
Veneers might be the way to go if you want the most customizable option.
If your blue teeth result from dead nerves and tissue, your dentist might recommend a root canal.
A root canal removes the dead pulp, cleans the infection, and fills the roots with a permanent filling. In some cases, your dentist may recommend getting a crown over the filling, depending on how damaged the tooth is.
If not, they may recommend bleaching treatments to help restore the color of your tooth. This treatment option ensures the health of your tooth is prioritized.
If you have blue teeth, be sure not to panic. Blue teeth have varying causes; yours might not be as bad as dead teeth. However, if they are, rest assured you have treatment options. Schedule a consultation with your dental professional for a check-up.
- Dentinogenesis imperfecta: an early treatment strategy. Pediatric Dentistry. Accessed: Sept 27, 2022.
- Role of enamel and dentin on color changes after internal bleaching associated or not with external bleaching. Journal of Applied Oral Science. Accessed: Sept 27, 2022.
- Does post-traumatic transient discoloration indicate a good prognosis? Case report with 2 years of follow-up. International Journal of Applied Dental Sciences. Accessed: Sept 27, 2022.
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