One of my teeth is pink. What is this??
November 6, 2008 7:03 PM   Subscribe

One of my teeth is pink. What is this??

I just had a dental cleaning and the hygienist said that I have a "pink tooth." She said that this tooth has what seems to be a "huge" cavity on the x-ray. Unfortunately I don't have an appointment with the actual dentist until next week and the hygienist wouldn't say any more except that it was "very strange" that my tooth has a pink color and that she was unsure as to what the cause was.

I looked in the mirror and this tooth (it's in the back of my mouth) *does* have a pinkish hue to it.

I'm a little worried; basically because I don't have dental insurance and dental work is SO expensive. Also, I brush and floss EVERY day and haven't had a cavity in years so I'm wondering what in the world could cause a "pink tooth" (whatever that is) and how much of a cause for concern this is. I do not want to have a root canal!

P.S. everyone, DO NOT put off your dental cleanings/exams. I used to go like clockwork every six months and never had any dental problems at all. Just recently I tried to start going a little longer between cleanings...maybe 8 or 9 months. Now suddenly I've got dental problems to worry about. I was trying to save money. This sucks!
posted by mintchip to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
ABSTRACT: Pink tooth is due to internal resorption of pulpal wall of root. It is usually associated with chronic pulpal inflammation from infection or possible trauma, traumatic occlusion, bruxism, atraumatic cavity preparation, caries, deep restoration etc.
posted by CKmtl at 7:12 PM on November 6, 2008

Or it can apparently happen if you've had dental work done in Russia.
posted by CKmtl at 7:19 PM on November 6, 2008

Yup, it sounds like an internal resorption. Both myself and my god mother went through this with back molars in the last year. Sometimes the tooth can be saved with a root canal, but often the root canal fails and the tooth ends up having to be extracted. I would do anything to save the tooth or replace it with an implant, due to the several complications that generally arise from having a missing tooth. My root canal failed so I've been saving for an implant because my insurance doesn't cover them. My periodontist wants 1/3 up front (of the $1400 total) and will let me pay the rest off monthly, so this year my xmas present to myself is a shiny new molar.

Internal resorptions happen despite brushing and flossing and having regular check ups, they will often go undetected by your dentist. Mine has been attributed to bruxing; I don't grind my teeth at night but I clench them during the day when I'm stressing out, which is often. I have to wear my mouth guard at work periodically throught the day to protect my teeth. (I should probably start popping pills for anxiety!)
posted by zarah at 7:29 PM on November 6, 2008

I had an internal resporption that got beyond requiring a root canal. Eventually the cavity opened and the gum started growing inside the tooth (which is when I noticed it going pink) & they had to pull it out.

Luckily enough it was beyond my smile line, so I got to save five grand on having a new tooth made & haven't ever noticed a functional difference.

The dentist said it wasn't really "due" to anything in particular.
posted by MatJ at 8:05 PM on November 6, 2008

Yeah, if it's far enough back, even if they have to pull it, it's not a big deal. I had to have a molar removed and it hasn't caused me any chewing difficulties. It would likely be a problem if I were missing 3 or 4, though.

And FWIW, root canals aren't that bad if you go to an endodontist, but it's quite expensive. Similarly, extractions are pretty easy when done by an oral surgeon. It's cheaper, but more traumatic, to have your regular dentist do it. I've gone both ways, and I have to say I prefer the more expensive route.

I'd probably be willing to put up with the extra discomfort to save a few hundred bucks, though. Of course, one of the root canals done by my regular dentist failed and had to be redone by an endodontist, so it didn't end up saving me anything, although the other one he did was (and still is) just fine.
posted by wierdo at 9:18 PM on November 6, 2008

My sister also had the resorption pink tooth. I remember the pinkness being a symptom specifically, although I don't remember the resolution in her case.
posted by that girl at 5:32 AM on November 7, 2008

oh gosh now i'm really scared of this. another thing i need to worry about my teeth. eek!
posted by Soulbee at 6:24 AM on November 7, 2008

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