Teeth are complicated. Unless you are a dentist, it can sometimes be difficult to spot oral issues before they quietly but steadily get out of hand. For example, tooth decay can occur in the smallest of crannies, out of sight. Over months, that tooth decay worsens, but because the damage has yet to reach the nerve, you have no way of knowing.

If one of your teeth has turned grey or black, it has likely succumbed to some form of damage. One of your first priorities should be to identify the reason for the damage. It could be due to one of the following causes.

A Hidden Cavity

As mentioned earlier, not all tooth decay is easy to spot. When teeth are close together, tooth decay can occur in the tiny space between them, for example. Run your tongue over the surface of the black tooth. Rough or sharp areas are an indication of tartar, or worse, tooth decay.

Physical Trauma 

Teeth can also die from physical trauma, such as a collision or a meeting with an especially hard nut. However, this process can take days or years. Therefore, a tooth can die and turn black long after you have forgotten the incident.

What to do With a Dead Tooth?

Intact dead teeth, in other words, dead teeth with little damage, can be treated with a root canal and whitening, after which you can use them comfortably. However, damaged or rotted teeth need to have crowns placed on them to provide them with strength and stability. Although you will lose some of the tooth, most of it remains intact.

Extracting a Dead Tooth

Unfortunately, dead teeth are more brittle and prone to breaking than vital teeth. As a result, some dead teeth need to be extracted. However, you do have options as far as filling the gap in your smile.


No matter what age you are, a denture is a good investment if you wish to fill a gap in your smile. If you take good care of them, your dentures could last five to eight years. Modern dentists and ceramists are now also able to create natural-looking teeth from porcelain and zirconium.

If, however, you are looking for a long-term solution, you could opt to have a dental implant placed into the space.

Dental Implants

When you lose a tooth, your body begins to break down the bone in that area to use elsewhere in your body. This affects your facial structure over time, as more bone is lost. Dental implants promote bone growth once they are placed, and this helps to lock them in place. This helps to both preserve your bone, and enable you to eat more comfortably.

Black teeth are most likely dead teeth. However, if you see your dentist soon after noticing your tooth has turned black, you may be able to save the tooth.