28 answers

My Son's Front Tooth Is Turning Gray!!!


My 4 year old son was playing on a skateboard with his brother about 2 weeks ago. He was lying on his belly and as he was being pushed, his front tooth hit the skateboard. It bled just slightly and when I checked it, it didn't even seem loose. I didn't think anything of it because that sort of thing had happened to my older son quite a few times, and nothing bad had ever come of it. Yesterday I noticed that it was a slight gray color. I've been freaking out because today it has just gotten worse. I don't know what really needs to be done about it. We don't have insurance, so I am very worried that we'll have to pay a huge bill at the dentist (or the tooth hospital as he calls it). I am also worried about what he might have to go through if it has to be pulled, etc. I would appreciate any advice and would like to know if this has happened to any of your children. Thanks.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone for all your responses. I feel much better now, after reading most of your stories. I believe that what I will do is just not take him to a dentist unless the abcess or pimple, like some of you described, appears. He still isn't in any pain, and he doesn't even care about the discoloration. We'll just wait for that adult tooth to come in! Thanks a lot! ~Jessica

Featured Answers

Sounds like there's nerve damage to the tooth. Take him to a dentist. Perhaps the permanent tooth which grows in won't be gray.

HI, J.
I had a similar situation with my son only his tooth didn't gray at all. Try going to St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic (Speedway) or El Rio Clinic (various sites) here in Tucson. They both are on the sliding fee scale. Also try Dedicated Dental Service or one of those dental chains here. More than likely, it will be one visit. Good luck!

The tooth most likely died, but will stay in place until it falls out and he gets his adult tooth. No worries, he can keep it there until it falls out.

More Answers

This happened to my 3 year old daughter last April. I did take her to the dentist, but they said that it was just a bruised tooth. It will stay dark grey in color and nothing needs to be done. It will eventually fall out since it's a baby tooth. I wouldn't be concerned about taking him to the dentist. She actually went to the dentist yesterday for a 6 mo. check-up and they said it's still doing fine (not wiggly or anything). Just let your son know that he has a special tooth now and when kids ask about it, just let them know he bruised it. Good luck.

My friends daughter had a tooth turn grey and her dentist told her the tooth is bruised and not to worry it will fall out. I think it has been over a year and still no problems with her tooth and she has been back to the dentist I think twice since the incident.

When my little brother was about 4 or 5 one of his teeth turned gray. The dentist said it was a dead tooth, but he left it there and when his permanent tooth came in it was white. So it could be just fine, but dentists aren't as expensive as doctors so you might want to find a place and ask how much it would cost just to have them check it out.

The tooth most likely died, but will stay in place until it falls out and he gets his adult tooth. No worries, he can keep it there until it falls out.

Dear J.; I tend to agree with the cooler heads. The grayness is dried blood inside the tooth, but I don't think this will carry over into the adult replacement tooth. The thing to watch for is a swelling or boil on the gum above the tooth. That means there is an abcess and it would need to be pulled and he might need some antibiotics. Your son is close to the age when new teeth appear so you could leave the space and not worry about it. My daughter did the same thing when she was two and a half. It abcesssed and had to be pulled and she had a space for a long time but got a nice new adult tooth - which she proceeded to bump again. The dentist injected bleach into the new tooth and it hardly shows. We could do veneers, but why. So check out his gums regularly unless he complains of pain.

Sounds like the tooth could be dying.
maybe this will help...


or here...


Hopefully it is a baby tooth! ;)

I think your sons tooth is dying. You should get him into the dentist. When I was younger I bumped my front tooth really hard on something and my parents never took me in. By the time I went to the dentist months later my tooth had died and there was nothing the dentist could to about it. He said that they would have done a root canal had I gone in earlier, but my parents waited so long to take me in that my canal had totally healed over and disappeared. Now I am stuck with a really dark tooth in the front that can't be bleached to make it lighter, because usually they bleach the tooth inside out via through the canal. And honestly it bothers me how dark my tooth is because it is where everyone can see it and I am stuck with it for life. Several dentists offer payment plans, where you can pay your bills a little every month say 15 or 20 dollars. So I would call around and ask if they offer any payment plans.

The same thing happened to my daughter when she was about 2. At that time we decided to do a root canal and cap because of her age and that there was a possibility of it falling out prematurly. If he's four, I wouldn't worry about it. The dentist will tell you the same thing. There's nothing speacial that needs to be done. He'll be losing that tooth in a year or so anyways. I wouldn't bother putting him through the trauma!

Hi ya, the same thing happend with my daughters tooth, she bumped it, and the dentist had said that it was damaged because it had blood in it.. he had suggest we pull it, and told me it could affect permanent teeth, however, I did not have insurance at the time, so I just had to let it be... it's now 6 years later, and the permanent tooth is in.. The tooth was fine, it took along time, but the tooth eventually got whiter, and the permanent tooth had no discoloring, i'm soo glad i didn't have to pull her front tooth.

I'm not saying every situation is like this.. But I have had other dentists tell me, its' ok to leave it alone. Also my daughters tooth was quite grey and definatly noticable from the other teeth. :)

I hope this helped, good luck !

I dont know if this will help at all, but one of our clients, a great Dental Group (Dazzle Dental) is offering free first visit at the Queen Creek Location. Includes free x-rays exam and cleaning, and they offer payment plans for those without insurance.
The address is 21321 E Ocotillo Suite 130 in Queen Creek
Phone ###-###-#### web www.dazzledental.com
I think it only $45 for each additional family member if you want to take the family in for checkup and cleaning. We work with A LOT of dentists, and this is a great group. They have 4 other locations too, but I think this is the only one running the free visit offer. Free visit would at least put your mind at ease if it is all fine, which I am sure it will be.

If it needs to be pulled, dont worry. We had 8 of my daughters teeth pulled at the same time, as the other teeth were coming in, but the babies were not coming out. I thought she was going to be traumatized but she was fine!

Good luck.

The exact same thing happened to my son. He fell and hit his tooth and about a week to two weeks later I noticed the color change. I immeadiately took him to a pediatric dentist. She did an x-ray. The tooth is okay at the moment. It is now loose, but wasn't when it first happened. She checked it for sensetivity and infection. So far it checks out ok. She said that the ligament that holds the tooth in place is widened and the tooth is at risk for getting an infection. If this happens then the tooth will have to be pulled because an infected baby tooth can damage the permanent tooth behind it. SHe started my son on antibiotics just in case and we have a follow up appt in a month. I'm not sure if your son is a thumb sucker. But mine is and she said that that is possibly part of the reason that his tooth hasn't healed yet. It sucks that you don't have insurance because he should be seen by a dentist. I dread the fact that my son might loose his front tooth at 3, but really don't want to risk damaging a permanent tooth. Maybe you can call around and get price quotes and find out payment information. BTW, the dentist said that the tooth became discolored because basically it is bruised and if the tooth survives, the color could stay the same or possibly lighten up.

Something very similar happened to my son at around the same age. He hit his tooth on a windowsill. His dentist said it was a "dead tooth" but since it was a baby tooth he said to leave it alone until it falls out. It was gray and not very attractive until he was about 6 and he lost it. I would suggest at least having your dentist look at it (it should just cost an office visit) so that he/she can let you know if there is anything more that should be done.
As far as dental insurance is concerned, there is a plan in most states called Total Eclipse dental that costs very little (140 a year in Arizona) and helps cut dental costs by about 40%.

Sounds like there's nerve damage to the tooth. Take him to a dentist. Perhaps the permanent tooth which grows in won't be gray.

It sounds like the injury killed the nerve. The same thing happened to my daughter. We took her to the dentist as a precaution. There is little you can do for it, but you need to watch for infection. Our dentist said either the red line from the gum up or a red dot. If it gets infected it will need to be taken care of.

He also, mercifully, told me that it is the most common childhood injury.

When I was in the 3rd grade one of my friends told me to spin around and that I would see mickey mouse. I did this and ran into the basketball pole and broke off half of my front tooth. After having the dentist replace the tooth it was extra sensetive and turned grey. I had to have it broken again in order to remove the tooth root (root canal) and then had to have the entire tooth replaced again. You might be able to find some dental insurance (or I think that Medicaid has a couple of dentist offices that are cheaper... you would have to check with the Medicaid office) so that it is not so expensive but the tooth does need to be looked at before it gets worse and actually falls off because it sounds as if the root is dead so now the tooth is rotting away.

Hey Jesse,

My son did the same thing. It is ok, Is it his baby tooth? If so they said it will not hurt his permenant tooth at all. The tooth is actually dead. My son had a gray tooth for about 2 years. They could have pulled it, but that would have been a heafty price and also he would be toothless for 2 years. I thought I would rather see a gray tooth. If it does not bother him don't worry about it. It will be ok.. Good Luck.

This happened to my son as well. Turning grey means the nerve has died. Most likely the root will die. If the gums above the tooth are not pussy, real red, or have a red pimple, it is fine to leave the tooth in. Once their is infection (due to bacteria getting up there) you will see those signs and that's when it will need to be pulled. There is a chance it wont get infected for a good long time tho. This is all from my dentist who saw my son to check on it each check-up. Finally my son when 6 yrs old, had the pimple thing on top of the tooth on the gums, and we did have to get it pulled. It's not bad having it pulled, they do a good job numbing first, and it's quick. I would advise not to go with the laughing gas. It only made my son super sick, and was to calm him, but he was not that worried about it (do lots of prep talk!) Let me know if you need further info or questions!

that happened to my youngest son when he was about the same age - he tripped while running through the house and crashed mouth first into the wooden arm of a chair - both front teeth turned gray and when we took him to the dentist they said the teeth were "dead" but since they were baby teeth not to worry as his permanent teeth would be fine - so we endured years of photos with gray teeth but no less beautiful a smile - he's now a teenager with great teeth - no lasting damage that we can tell - so don't worry too much just encourage him to smile

HI, J.
I had a similar situation with my son only his tooth didn't gray at all. Try going to St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic (Speedway) or El Rio Clinic (various sites) here in Tucson. They both are on the sliding fee scale. Also try Dedicated Dental Service or one of those dental chains here. More than likely, it will be one visit. Good luck!

Hi J., I work in the dental field and anytime a tooth suffers from trauma there's a chance that the nerve can start to die in the tooth. That's when you start to see the tooth turn gray and your child may also feel a throbbing and sensitivity as well.It's wise to have it checked soon so you can save the tooth. I work for a company called Southwest Dental Group and we have 9 offices through out the valley. If you don't have insurance they offer you an in house dental plan with reduced fees. They sometimes allow you to make payments through a payment plan. I would look them up online for the office nearest you.

The same thing happened to my daughter when she was 4 on the playgroung merry-go-round. The dentist said it was a dead tooth and it may or may not fall out. Since it was not a permanent tooth, we just left it alone. It didn't look very pretty but it stayed in for a few years. She is now 11 and her permanent teeth are fine.
From the looks of the other responses, this happens alot I guess.

It sounds to me like the tooth has died. If it were an adult tooth they'd probably do a root canal, but I don't know what the dentist will do for a baby tooth. Either way you will want to get it checked out as it can become infected and start becoming painful for him.

Obviously this is not uncommon. Similar thing happened with my neice. She was 3 and it was a trampoline incident. Her pediatrician said it was a dead tooth and that it could just be left alone. That's what my sister did and when the permanant tooth came it, it was just fine. My neice is 11 now and has all her front teeth in, and you wouldn't know that there was ever a problem.

You didn't mention whether it's a baby tooth or if it's a permanent tooth, but if it's a baby tooth, it will probably just fall out and his permanent tooth will be fine. If it's a permanent tooth, then I'm sorry to say that when he banged it, it killed the root causing the tooth to discolor. I myself had a front tooth that changed colors and when the dentist checked it out, it was a dead tooth. I had to get a veneer put over it so I wouldn't have discoloration. If it was a permnanent tooth, you really need to have him see a dentist. Good luck.

My 3 year old fell getting out of the bath tub about 7 months ago. He was almost 3 at the time. He bled a lot and had a fat lip for a few days. We took him to a children's ER to make sure he didn't need stiches or anything in his upper lip area.. they said he was ok and it would heel.. then a week or so later, his one front tooth started turning gray. We took him to a dentist. They said the gray color was just from the tooth bruising and there was no damage to his adult/second tooth. They didn't do antyhing about it and sent us on our way.. It kept getting worse and I was still concerned about it but lately (the last month or so) it has actually been going away (the gray color) and I just looked now and can't even see any gray color !

So, as long at it is not bothering him and he is not in any pain.. I wouldn't worry about it especially if it is a baby tooth! (which I'm assuming by his age that it is) They said they would have done somthing if he was in pain... just fyi..

Hope that helps!

Hi, J. -
I feel your pain. This EXACT same thing just happened to my two-year old. She fell face-first onto concrete, split both lips and I thought was bleeding around her front teeth. Same scenario. Bleeding stopped, she seemed fine. I checked the teeth, they didn't seem loose. Two weeks later, her two front teeth are gray/brown. I freaked out. Took her to the pediatric dentist for an exam and x-ray. We're very fortunate to have dental insurance that covered this. In our case, the teeth aren't broken or fractured, and there is no sign of infection. They tell me that teeth can "bruise" just like other parts of your body because they have a blood supply. Her teeth remain slightly loose, and I'm told they will retighten on their own, and that there is a small chance that they also may lighten back up. I suppose they are baby teeth and if they remain discolored it's no big deal. I just didn't want her to lose them this early. If there is any way you can find to afford it, I'd get him to a dentist. If the teeth are broken or infected, you need to know. You don't want to jeapardize his overall health or the health of his other teeth. We saw a dentist named Dr. Sherrill at Arizona Pediatric Dental Specialists. I highly recommend her.
Good luck.

Contact John C Lincoln Dental Clinic.

They do dental work for kids for parents that do not have dental insurance and/or are low income.
They are great with the kids and do wonderful work.

I highly recommend them as I was a former patient of theirs.

Take him to the dentist immediately. If it's going gray, it's damaged and since it's a baby tooth, you don't want the adult tooth to come in discolored or damaged. Having a tooth pulled is very easy these days and he won't feel a thing! They'll just wiggle it out. My kids have had teeth pulled and there's no pain and no discomfort afterwards.

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