Cosmetic Dentistry

Whitening a Dead Tooth

At The Courtyard Clinic we frequently get asked why a front tooth is so discoloured. The answer is front teeth are prone to traumatic injuries and if this has unfortunately happened to you or someone you know the tooth has often subsequently died off. A dead tooth takes up either a caramel brown colour or a grey dull colour. It’s one way or the other. There is a cure and the answer is non vital bleaching. 

This is where a root canal treatment is performed, or if previously in place it is slightly modified and bleach is put into the back of the tooth. Like magic the tooth lifts in colour from the inside out. Purely bleaching from the outside isn’t strong enough to penetrate this deep staining.

Signs of a Non-Vital Front Tooth

Non-vital teeth can present with any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Gray, brown, or black discoloration in part or all of the tooth
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity
 

Pain and discoloration are the two main symptoms that your tooth may become dead. A tooth can go through this process quickly or slowly, and the resulting discoloration and discomfort can likewise come on at a similar pace. It is, however, possible for a tooth to become non-vital without causing you any pain.

The Next Steps...

Whitening a dead tooth

Root Canal

A root canal is a procedure in which the dentist removes the dead nerve and sterilises the nerve space. This process relieves your tooth of pain and prevents infection from spreading.
This stabilises the tooth, then we deal with the aesthetic concern …

Bleaching

Most teeth whitening systems work by removing stain/discolouration that are in tooth enamel on the outside of your tooth. This doesn’t work for deteriorating teeth that are stained from the inside. Your tooth may respond well to an internal bleaching procedure that only dentists can provide. Internal bleaching lightens stains on non-vital teeth from the inside.

The non-vital teeth whitening procedure

Whitening a dead tooth
X-rays taken.
1
Confirmation of good root canal treatment in place.
2
Modification of the root canal and leave the access hole at the back of the tooth open for bleach.
3
The dentist will place the whitening gel inside the tooth and a whitening tray on top to keep the gel in place.
4
We then ask our patients to easily change the gel in the back of the tooth regularly until the tooth colour lifts. Many patients see the results of non-vital teeth whitening in a few days.
5
Once finish we place a simple filling to cover the access hole left in the tooth from the root canal filling.
5
You and your dentist will then decide if the tooth needs a crown or veneer or not.
5

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