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My tooth is turning dark, but my dentist is not concerned

Posted by AllSmiles

My right incisor is turning dark, but my dentist is not concerned about doing anything to it. She says that it is not that bad. I have a small smiling in the corner of the tooth to replace a chipped-off piece. But I was 17 years old when it happened. Now, I am 47, and the tooth is getting darker. My dentist said the tooth is dead, and the canal is calcified, so it is too risky to do a crown. And she said that I would not be happy with a veneer, and it costs too much anyway. She suggests that I do nothing unless it becomes very noticeable. But it is noticeable and getting darker. What are my options? Thank you. Trevor


Your description sounds like your dentist is uncomfortable with cosmetic dentistry procedures. We recommend that you not ask your dentist to provide treatment that she is not comfortable completing. Many patients who insist on treatment are unhappy with the results.

Cosmetic Dentistry Options for a Dark Tooth

Diagram of a same-day-crown hovering over a molar tooth
A dentist must aggressively prepare a tooth for a crown. Discuss your options with a cosmetic dentist.

A porcelain veneer or direct dental bonding are treatment options for a dark tooth. But a dental crown requires aggressive preparation—grinding your tooth to a stub. And usually, a crown is not necessary for correcting tooth color.

  • Porcelain veneer – A dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training works with a skilled ceramist at a lab to custom craft a veneer. The veneer will match the shape and size of your dark tooth, but the color will match your other teeth. If you want your teeth whitened, do it before you get a veneer.
  • Direct dental bonding – While you sit in a dental chair, a cosmetic dentist can mix shades of dental composite to match your surrounding teeth. The dentist will apply, shape, and harden the bonding, then polish it to a natural gloss.

Schedule a Consultation with a Cosmetic Dentist

Although only one tooth is dark, a dentist who does not understand cosmetic dentistry can make your tooth look worse. So look for cosmetic dentists in your area. And examine patient cases in their website smile gallery. If a dentist does not have a website or smile gallery, perhaps they do not have any beautiful work to show. But read online reviews, too, before you schedule a consultation.

You can do something about your dark incisor tooth. And a cosmetic dentist can correct it with a porcelain veneer or dental bonding. Best wishes for a beautiful restoration.


Timothy J. Goebel, DDS, a  Moline, IL dentist, sponsors this post.