Can I Replace an Ugly Tooth?

I have a tooth that has turned all dark and gray. I am too embarrassed to smile right now. I looked it up and from what I can tell this means the tooth has died. Can I just remove it and replace it with a fake tooth?


Dear Ben,

dental implant diagram

I want you to take a step back before you start yanking out this tooth. Yes, a tooth turning gray usually means a tooth is either dead or dying. The first thing to do is find out why this tooth has died. I’d like you to schedule an emergency dental appointment. Your dentist will do x-rays and will determine the next course of action.

If at all possible, you’ll want to save the tooth. That will mean doing a root canal treatment and then covering it with a dental crown. Having the dental crown placed will both protect the remainder of the tooth as well as improve the appearance. A good cosmetic dentist can create a natural-looking crown and you’ll be pleased to smile again.

Let’s say, as a worst-case scenario, that the tooth cannot be saved. That would be the only time I’d say to extract and replace the tooth. If that happens and you need to replace it, your two best options are either a dental implant or a dental bridge.

Dental Implant Verses Dental Bridge

I’ve pictured a dental implant in the illustration above. With this procedure, you’ll have a prosthetic tooth root surgically implanted into your jawbone. Then, after a period of healing, a dental crown will be placed on top of the implant. This is the closest replacement to having a healthy natural tooth there again.

A dental bridge
A Dental Bridge
Your second-best option is to get a dental bridge. This requires both the adjacent teeth to be crowned and then a false tooth is suspended between them. If either of the other teeth already need to be crowned, then this procedure would make more sense than the dental implant.

Your first step is to have the tooth looked at by your dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. Steven Collins.