Ah, the mystery of the dark tooth. You know what we’re talking about—that one tooth that’s a bit darker than the rest of your teeth.
Maybe the difference is quite drastic or maybe it’s subtle. Either way, we are going to uncover that mystery today!
What is a dead tooth?
A dead tooth (a.k.a. a non-vital tooth) is a tooth that no longer has blood flowing to it.
Yep, that’s right—teeth are “alive.” They’re made up of three layers and when the nerves inside the pulp (the center of the tooth) die then the body will stop giving it a fresh supply of blood.
A dead tooth can be a variety of shades and may look more yellow, light brown, gray or it can sometimes even turn black. If the tooth is dying then the discoloration can increase as more time passes.
What causes a dead tooth?
The most typical things which can cause a tooth to die are: trauma (could’ve happened when you were younger or from clenching and grinding your teeth), tooth decay, gum disease or even orthodontic treatment.
Additionally, if you’ve had root canal therapy performed on a tooth, it may start to look dingy and darker than the rest of your other teeth over time. So what’s the deal?
This is what happens when red blood cells are dying—similar to bruising. Because of this lack of blood flow, the dentin that makes up most of the tooth starts to darken and generally increases in darkness over time.
Don’t panic, though! You aren’t stuck with an ugly tooth that detracts from your otherwise beautiful smile.
Can a dead tooth be whitened?
If you only want to use a veneer /Lumineer® (if it’s a front tooth) or a crown (if it’s a back tooth) as a last resort …
Then you’re in luck because at Exceptional Dentistry, we provide several whitening options to help that unsightly tooth fit in with the rest of your beautiful pearly whites!
Option 1: KöR®
To pull off the amazing results you desire and deserve, we use only fantastic whitening products. KöR Whitening provides astonishing results for even the darkest tooth color!
KöR Whitening provides highly effective whitening without the need of lights (which can increase patient discomfort). There’s four different whitening options just in this product line—which means a whitening solution for every case!
KöR is different because it goes deeper than most professional whitening treatments and it has the added benefit of making your teeth not feel as sensitive.
Option 2: Internal Tooth Whitening
We just talked about a whitening treatment that does deep external whitening— in which the the tooth is lightened using a whitening product from the outside in.
With internal whitening, the tooth is whitened from the inside out.
This might be necessary if your tooth doesn’t respond to the external whitening or even multiple attempts of external whitening. The fact of the matter may also be that the tooth isn’t a good candidate for external whitening. Our expert dentist, Dr. James Powell, will tell you which option will be most effective for you.
When internal whitening is the best option for you, then that will mean the dead tooth will need root canal therapy performed (if you haven’t already had it. Such could be the case in a trauma situation, for example).
First, the root canal area needs to be accessed. So a tiny inconspicuous hole in the back of the tooth will be made. Then, the canal will be cleaned, the canal that goes down to the root is sealed, and a whitening agent will be placed in the empty canal.
At this point, you will go home and let the agent do its work. In a few days, you’ll come back and another round of bleaching will be done (it can take several rounds until the tooth has reached a lightness that you are happy with.)
Once the desired color is reached, that tiny hole will be permanently sealed. In some cases, a combination of both internal and external bleaching has been necessary to provide phenomenal results.
We encourage you to contact our dental office today to learn more about how you can whiten that darn dead tooth in Palmdale, California, and to schedule your next visit with our dentist. We’ve got the knowledge, skills and technology to make you feel confident about your smile!