Why is Just One of My Teeth Discolored?

If you notice that a tooth looks discolored, there is no need to panic. Many individuals do not always have natural bright white teeth! In fact, tooth discoloration can occur for different reasons. Common reasons of tooth discoloration could be a result of damaged enamel of a tooth, dental work, and stains caused by foods, beverages, or tobacco use. Other reasons for staining could be a result of other problems within a tooth and in some cases; certain medications can interfere with the development of tooth enamel and cause the enamel to appear discolored.

More importantly, if you seem to notice that only one tooth looks discolored you may want to think about some things:

1. Have you been bleaching or whitening your teeth?

If you have been using over-the-counter bleach trays or whitening kits provided by your dentist, it is possible that a single tooth may not be whitening correctly because of previous dental work. Crowns and veneers do not whiten with bleaching agents, unlike natural teeth. If you believe that the tooth which appears to be discolored is a crown or veneer, this can simply be fixed by receiving a new crown or veneer that matches the shade of the teeth following whitening treatment.

2. Have you injured a tooth lately?

On the other hand, if the tooth that looks discolored has been put through trauma, the tooth may look brown/gray. This is because the trauma has caused the tooth to “die” and there is no longer blood flowing to it. Once a tooth has died, it will not be possible to whiten with bleach and must be done using a veneer or crown.

3. Have you had a dental cleaning recently?

If you haven’t had a dental cleaning in quite some time, it is possible that one tooth may have a larger build up of stain from food, drink or tobacco use. This kind of discoloration is also known as “extrinsic stain,” when the outer enamel of the tooth is stained. Certain teeth may get missed while brushing, usually the back molars, which can cause more staining to occur on these teeth. It can be extremely beneficial to receive a professional cleaning in order to get rid of the discoloration from stain you may be noticing.


If you have more questions concerning tooth discoloration or stain, please contact River Run Dental Spa. We would be pleased to answer any further questions.

As an additional benefit to our patients, we also offer whitening treatment in our office! Please feel free to contact us if you would like to learn more!