Why is my tooth turning gray after I went to an emergency dentist?

Several weeks ago, I visited an emergency dentist because of an intense toothache. After his assessment, he concluded my tooth was fine, but it did have a small crack in it. He later placed a new crown, and, although the pain was better, it was not gone. The dentist suggested that I would need a root canal if the pain did not go away. While it is better, it has not gone away. However, I would prefer to not have a root canal, so I’ve been trying to remedy the pain with Ibuprofen, but there really hasn’t been any change, and today, I noticed the tooth next to it changing to an almost gray color. Is it possible that the crown is whiter than my other tooth? Or, is it possible that the work of the emergency dentist I saw could have done something to the other tooth?

Thank you,
Vicki

Dear Vicki,

Teeth turn gray when they are dead or injured, similar to our skin bruising after trauma, but our teeth are behind an enamel surface. The treatment for this is a root canal because the tooth needs cleaned out and filled from the inside, to prevent the build-up of bacteria, which will, in turn, cause infection. The sooner this issue can be addressed, the better.

It is unlikely that the emergency dentist caused this. It could be that your tooth was hurt or damaged all along. Teeth often cause the teeth around them to be in pain. If this is the case, the original diagnosis may be incorrect. Another possibility is that both of your teeth could have been injured at the same time. This would be true, for example, if you bit down on something hard, causing trauma to the graying tooth, and causing its neighbor tooth to crack. While the tooth may not have died right away, it could be slowing fading with time. Finally, it is possible that the two teeth have issues which are completely unrelated. Lastly, you could be looking at two totally unrelated incidents, which happen to be affecting two neighbor teeth. You will likely never know if the original diagnosis was incorrect. However, if you believe this is the case, ask the original dentist for a copy of the x-ray and seek another option from a different dentist, and also have the gray tooth assessed. If something was missed on the original x-ray, you should receive a refund for what you paid to have the crown done. However, if nothing was missed, the dentist’s actions were based on your original symptoms, and the diagnosis may or may not have been correct.

This post is sponsored by Gilbert emergency dentist, Dr. Matthew Roper.

Can I stay with my daughter during a sedation dentistry appointment?

My pre-school aged daughter has a significant-sized cavity on one of her back molars. Her dentist suggested using Nitrous oxide to sedate her, in order to place a filling. On the day of the appointment, I was told I could not go into the room with her for the procedure. She is three! Furthermore, in those three years, she has never been sedated. When I questioned this, I was told it was office policy and there was no way around it. Therefore, I canceled her appointment. Is this a common policy? It seems ludicrous for a parent not to be allowed to accompany a three-year-old for a dental procedure, especially one which involves sedation.

Thank you,
Mindi

Dear Mindi,
The presence of a parent during a dental procedure is really the choice of the provider. Oftentimes, the nervousness or fear that a parent is experiencing during a dental procedure is very obvious to the child, and, therefore, wears off on the child. Parents may say things like, “squeeze Mommy’s hand if you’re scared, or if it hurts, ” thus, letting the child know that being scared of feeling pain is an option, when they otherwise may not know this. Sometimes, it is easier for everyone if the only person the child has to focus on is the dentist. This also allows the dentist to give your child and the procedure he or she is performing their sole focus, as opposed to focusing on the procedure, the patient, and you. Sedation dentistry is not any different than a medical procedure. If you were to take your child into a hospital for a surgical procedure, you would not be allowed in the operating room with him or her. This seems to be a policy that many dental providers have also adopted. Though, I am sure you can find a provider who will allow you into the procedure room with your child if you look further.

This post was written by the office of Gilbert sedation dentist, Dr. Matt Roper.