Discoloured teeth can occur for many reasons, and should be evaluated by your vet. Often it is due to tartar or stains on the tooth surface, which can be removed by professional cleaning under anaesthesia.
When the actual tooth itself is discoloured, this is generally a sign that the tooth itself is dead or dying. These teeth are often grey, pink or tan in colour. A recent study showed that over 90% of such teeth had dead tissue inside the pulp chamber – this acts as a reservoir for bacteria and leads to chronic infection that neither the immune system nor antibiotics can resolve. In most cases dogs and cats will not alert us to their discomfort until the infection bursts through the jaw bone as an abscess. Unfortunately for them, this can take months,or even years. Treatment may involve extraction or root canal therapy.
Less commonly, teeth can be discoloured from the time they erupt due to developmental problems such as poor enamel development – these teeth may benefit from sealants, or even restoratives (fillings or crowns).
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