Why Has Your Child's Tooth Changed Colour After an Accident?

Posted on: 4 January 2019


Kids often get a lot of knocks and bumps, especially when they are young and are getting used to controlling their bodies. You yourself are used to dealing with regular bruises and scrapes, but when your child falls over or bumps into something, you may not be so used to managing accidents that affect their teeth.

If your child bashes their mouth, then you'll check that their teeth aren't damaged. If everything looks alright, then you'll assume that no damage was done. However, after a while, you notice that one of your child's teeth has changed colour. Why does this happen and what should you do about it?

Internal Bruising and Pulp Damage

If teeth get an almighty whack, then the force of the accident may be enough to break a tooth or knock it out. While smaller bangs don't do this, they can hurt the tooth. The tooth can get bruised just like any other part of the body.

So, if your child fell over and banged their mouth or clashed heads with a mate, then one or more of their teeth may have got bruised by the impact. You can normally tell when this happens because the tooth starts to change colour a few days after the accident. For example, your child's tooth may start to look pink or it may turn a grey colour. This colour change is a sign of internal bruising or damage.

How to Deal With a Bruised Tooth

If your child's tooth changes colour, make an appointment to see your dentist. Your dentist needs to look at the damage to assess if the tooth needs any treatment.

If the tooth is strong in its socket and hasn't come loose, then your dentist may recommend waiting to see what happens. Sometimes, a colour change is temporary, and the tooth will go back to a more normal colour after it has healed. This most often happens with pink or purple shades.

Here, the colour indicates that the tooth is reabsorbing inside after it has been damaged. If the tooth is grey or turns grey after being pink, then this may be a sign that the tooth's pulp has been more seriously damaged. Grey teeth may never regain their natural colour.

If the tooth doesn't heal itself, then talk to your dentist about treatment options. Dentists may recommend leaving baby teeth alone as they'll come out soon anyway. However, a discoloured permanent tooth that doesn't recolour itself may need cosmetic treatment in the future like a root canal or crown.