If you have experienced trauma in one of your front teeth, odds are that you have been noticing some discoloration. A tooth that has been treated with a root canal can turn dark over time and requires internal whitening to address the “root” of the problem.
But sometimes after trauma the canal calcifies and doesn’t need a root canal treatment, but the tooth still darkens. These teeth are dark from the inside and just whitening from the outside will not make enough improvement. This is when we bleach the tooth from the inside: internal whitening. In about 2 to 3 visits your discolored tooth can reach the shade of the surrounding teeth and give you that white smile you’ve been wanting.
Case 1: This patient has not had root canal treatment and her whitening took 3 visits.
Case 2: This patient has had root canal treatment and her internal whitening took 3 visits.
Case 3: This patient has had root canal treatment and whitening took 3 visits.
What’s the difference between traditional teeth whitening and internal whitening? Many people are familiar with bleaching, where you wear fitted dental trays with a gel solution, or even accelerated bleaching treatments you receive in a dentist’s office. These methods remove the accumulated stains that have built up on your teeth from foods such as coffee and red wine, or tobacco.
While traditional teeth whitening works on the outside surfaces of your teeth (and usually multiple teeth share the same color cast), sometimes a tooth discoloration originates from the inside of the tooth and other methods are needed to correct the color. Discoloration of a single tooth is often the result of some sort of trauma or if the tooth has had a root canal.
When the roots of the teeth that need a root canal have died, the root turns a dark brown. The material of the dead root permeates the dentin surrounding it before the dead root is removed during the root canal treatment. The permeating of the dentin by the dead root causes the permanent discoloration of the tooth. In this case, you need to address the stain from the direction where the stain came from.
The technique involves removing the root canal filling that gives access to the canal and applying bleach mixture to the inside of the tooth. The bleach mixture will stay inside the tooth for often a week and then the process will be repeated until the tooth reaches the desired color. This procedure usually takes 2-3 visits to reach the shade of the surrounding teeth but the amount of visits is determined by the color of the tooth in the beginning.