Chipped Tooth Turning Yellow/ Brownish

Updated on October 27, 2009
L.T. asks from Elkton, MD
8 answers

My just turned 2 year old son chipped his front right tooth about 3 weeks ago at the playground. He's seen a pediatric dentist twice since the accident. It seems like a pretty big chip to me, atleast a quarter of the tooth. Anyways, at the first visit they took x-rays of it and said there was no nerve damage and they would just sand it smooth. Because there was a lot of swelling in his gums they wanted to wait another week before they did anything. When I took him for his follow-up visit, they just looked at it and decided to leave it alone. My son was hysterical the whole time, so maybe that had something to do with their decision. Well, it's been a little over three weeks and his chipped tooth is now turning a yellowish/ brownish color. I think the other front tooth next to the chipped one is turning color also. I don't know if he hit that one when he fell or not, but since it is changing color, I'm assuming he did. He hates having his teeth brushed, even more so since the accident, but I do my best to give them a good cleaning every night. The 1st week following the chipped tooth he wouldn't let me touch his teeth with the toothbrush, so they did go unbrushed for a week or so, but I don't see how not brushing his teeth could make them turn this color so quickly, especially when the rest of his teeth are white. So, does this sound normal? And is there any way to make his teeth look normal again?

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone who answered:) I appreciate it so much. The tooth doesn't seem to bother him. I am just going to give the dentist a call and see if I need to bring him in. As for how it seems to be such a common thing for kids his age, so I guess he may not be the only one with a chipped discolored tooth when he gets older, so I will just let it be unless for some reason it has to be messed with.

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

My son hit his front tooth when he was about your son's age. We didn't think too much of it at the time, as it was not chipped or anything. He is now 6. After that fall, the tooth slowly started to looked very, very slightly different in color. Last year, I noticed a little bubble on his gum above the front tooth. Turned out to be an abcess from the injury that damaged the nerve several years prior.
He ended up having to have that tooth pulled last Christmas and we expect to see it sometime on the next year. Just be informed that the least of your concerns could be the cosmetic appearance of the tooth. He probably has already done damage to the tooth (teeth) but the dentist may let it go until the permanent tooth is close by. A damaged baby tooth can permanently pit/discolor/damage the appearance of the permanent tooth beneath it if left alone. Good luck!



answers from Lancaster on

I was always under the impression that the teeth turning colors after trauma could signify root damage. If he really didn't enjoy his visit with the dentist try calling them on the phone and asking if this is possible (he has been seen by their dentist) My sister had to have a root canal after injuring her front tooth when she was younger - this is extreme, but if it turns out to be the case with your son they can put him to sleep to have it done. Good Luck.



answers from Johnstown on

My sister's little girl just went through the same thing. The only difference with her and your son was that it was all four of her top front teeth. She had taken off about 1/4 of the one in the middle and apparently did enough damage that the other 3 were affected as well. Needless to say, the teeth had to come out. The pediatric detist reassured my sister that my niece would be just fine and could adjust to life w/out teeth. Such is the case now. She's getting along just fine and everyone is very positive her permanent teeth will not be affected. Losing teeth to little kids is not as traumatic as it is to us adults. Most little kids WANT their teeth to come out because it's "cool" and they get visits from the tooth fairy. Your little guy could be the envy of everyone in his preschool class/or kdg when he starts. Best of luck!



answers from Harrisburg on

My daughter was hit in the mouth with a swing at approx age 3 or 4. (I forget now the exact age) The whole roof of her mouth turned purple. I called the dentist frantic. It did heal but her tooth turned black. (the brownish color may just be the beginning of it deadening) It was dead from the damage/trauma. She had to keep the tooth till it fell out when she was 5. I felt bad. It didn't look to nice but never gave her any trouble and her permanent tooth was fine.



answers from Harrisburg on

When I was two I fell and hit my front tooth. It slowly turned gray and we eventually had it pulled. So, I only had one front tooth until the adult tooth came in. I don't think it really mattered (for eating and the way it looked) because a lot of kids are missing front teeth.



answers from Johnstown on

My daughter who is almost 4 fell and bumped her tooth. The tooth itself was fine just the gum around it was a little bloody so we thought nothing of it. It wasnt until about 3 months later that it started turning a yellowish brown color. We took her to the dentist and they did an x ray. there was no real nerve damage but her tooth was abcessing. She had to have a "baby" root canal done a few weeks later. I would definately take your child back to the dentist just in case the tooth is abcessed. My dentist said that that was the main reason why the tooth was changing color. They filled her tooth with a white filler during the root canal but the tooth is still brown in color. Good luck!



answers from Allentown on

You pretty much got all similar answers. This happened to me a few times with my children.
I suggest you call your child's dentist immediately for him to be seen. There is a chance the tooth can be saved.

This happened to my daughter first. I noticed it turning a grayish color a week or so after bumping it (hard) on her brother's head. They did a baby root canal and saved the root. It hadn't completely died at that point. And they put a veneer over top to help with the color.

This happened to my oldest son twice. The first time they ended up pulling the front tooth. It seemed less grey than my daughter's but apparently it was dead. They put a fake tooth in (attached to the back teeth with a metal piece). He ended up having another injury where 2 more teeth meeded to be extracted. They just added 2 more fake ones to the mouth piece.

Don't worry about the pain your son would experience if he had to have his teeth pulled. My son is very sensitive and he was fine. It is much different than having adult teeth pulled.

I hope that this helps.
Good Luck!!



answers from Erie on

I am going to take a guess and say that the tooth is dying. And that there isn't much you can do but wait until it falls out and is replaced by a nice clean adult tooth. I suppose you could get a veneer put on it, but that seems kind of silly, and I can't see any reason to put a 2 year old in the dentist chair for all that when it won't be a happy thing for him to do -- not due to pain, but because he won't want people poking in his mouth, nor will he want to sit still all that long.

As long as it doesn't hurt, I'd leave it alone, knowing that it would still have turned color, even if you had brushed it religiously the whole time . . . if it abcesses, there will be a big bubble again on the gums, and then it would need to be pulled. Prior to that, you'll just have to live with it -- and if you're lucky, it'll fall out on its own rather than having to be pulled.

My 4 yr old had a front tooth that turned grey about a year after a fall, and it abcessed. The dentist who pulled it put novacaine in that sprayed back out thru the abcess -- it never did completely go numb and he traumatized her when he pulled it out. She looked as if she'd just walked out of a war zone when she and Dad came back to the waiting room, it was really sad. Later, when she had a few teeth pulled to have braces, we talked with the specialist who was going to do the work, and he told us that it is very hard to get baby teeth to be fully numbed up. (That dental specialist is awesome, having done work for every one of us except the youngest now, and I definately trust his answers. He also did a great job with our daughter when she had to have teeth pulled as a young teen after having that bad memory of having the baby tooth pulled)

Good luck. I would just grit my teeth and put up with the discolored tooth as much as you hate it. (I know, I hated our little gray tooth, too, but it's not fun to have them pulled out, either)