Dark Spots On A Child's Teeth: Numerous Causes With Numerous Solutions

There are several possible reasons for the dark spots that have developed on your child's teeth. However, without having your child assessed by their pediatric dentist, the precise reason is going to remain a mystery. The most pressing concern is that those dark spots are in fact cavities. If so, the cavities will be filled. But it's not a certainty that the spots are actually destructive cavities.


There are different types of dental cavities, and their earliest stage of development is micro-cavity. With early intervention, a micro-cavity can be prevented from actually becoming a destructive cavity. Dental enamel (the outer layer of teeth) has no living cells (in either permanent or baby teeth) and can't regenerate. It can be manually restored though. A children's dentist will treat this with remineralization (a fluoride treatment that helps to seal small breaches in enamel). A transparent sealant can also be added to the teeth for extra protection.

Genetics, Medication, Trauma

In addition to tooth decay, dark spots on a child's teeth can be due to genetic factors, with the discoloration being hereditary. You or your partner may have experienced this yourself in childhood, and you may wish to ask your own parents if it's a common occurrence in your family. Certain types of medication may also discolor teeth, leading to the formation of dark spots. Earlier trauma to the tooth, particularly caused by an impact injury, can also result in discoloration—often well after the event. 

Cosmetic Concerns

Of course, cavities and micro-cavities must be treated. But dark spots arising from genetic factors, previous medication, or earlier trauma (from which the tooth has recovered, aside from the discoloration)—are generally cosmetic problems. Your child's dentist can provide several options for treating the dark spots on your child's teeth. They may be covered with dental veneers or dental bonding, but this type of treatment is often thought to be disproportionate since the tooth will soon be lost as its adult replacement erupts.


Instead of adding a dental restoration to conceal the dark spots, your child's dentist may opt to perform enamel microabrasion. This involves the delicate application of a chemical agent that buffs the discoloration away without harming your child's dental enamel. It's quick and painless, and the dark spots shouldn't return. 

It's essential to have dark spots on your child's teeth properly inspected. They may in fact be cavities, which will worsen without quick treatment. But when the issue is unrelated to cavities or micro-cavities, your child's dentist has a few tricks up their sleeve to remove those dark spots. 

For more information, contact a local dentist for kids.