Your smile is often the first attribute that people notice about you, which is why teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures. However, teeth whitening might not be the best course of action for a brighter smiler if you’re dealing with a dead or discolored tooth.
If you’ve suffered dental trauma due to a dental procedure, a fall, or a sports injury, the damaged tooth may react differently to whitening agents — not providing you with the white color you’re hoping for! Because of this, improving the appearance of dead, discolored teeth can be more difficult, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t cosmetic dental procedures that can help.
Determine the Cause of the Discolored Tooth
Before your cosmetic dentist can begin any procedure to get you a white smiler, they need to find out the underlying cause of your damaged tooth. Understanding if the tooth’s pulp is dead or alive will determine if you’re a candidate for external bleaching. If your discolored tooth is still alive, teeth whitening may still be an option. However, if the x-rays confirm that the tooth’s pulp is no longer vital, other options will need to be executed to achieve the desired pearly whites.
How to Fix Dead & Discolored Teeth
Here are a few different methods a cosmetic dentist may suggest to whiten a dead and discolored tooth.
Depending on the severity of the discoloration, you may be able to get away with standard teeth whitening if the damaged tooth is only slightly darker. However, keep in mind that if the tooth is found to be completely dead, your tooth will likely continue turning a darker shade even after you bleach it externally.
When external bleaching is no longer viable, a cosmetic dentist might opt for bleaching the tooth from the inside out. To do this, you undergo a procedure where a small hole is made in the rear of the tooth, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out. From there, the dentist inserts a bleaching agent that is sealed within the tooth. However, this method won’t give you immediate results — it can take up to four visits before you get the degree of lightning you’re hoping for. Once you reach the desired whiteness, your dentist will permanently seal up the hole in the back of your tooth.
Another option is to skip bleaching altogether and have your cosmetic dentist install a colored crown over the top of the discolored tooth to blend it in with the rest of your teeth. This is also an excellent option for candidates who opted for internal bleaching, but the damaged tooth began discoloring repeatedly. By covering up the tooth entirely, you’ll quickly achieve the pearly whites of your dreams while also providing an added layer of protection to an already damaged tooth.
Similar to a crown, a porcelain veneer is used to cover up the tooth’s discolored appearance. Made of thin porcelain strips, these lay over top of the tooth to seamlessly integrate with your existing smile. Porcelain veneers are a preferred option over dental crowns when dealing with relatively healthy teeth because you can leave more of your natural tooth intact.
Depending on the damage you’re dealing with, your cosmetic dentist may recommend a dental implant instead of an option focused on whitening the tooth. In this scenario, your dentist would replace the damaged and discolored tooth with a permanent replacement instead of covering up the discoloration. While dental crowns and veneers are incredible for those who have a single damaged tooth, dental implants are an ideal option for someone with a few discolored teeth next to each other.
Call Dr. Taylor for Cosmetic Dentistry in Billings Montana
If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry to improve the appearance of a dead and discolored tooth, Dr. Taylor and his staff can help you determine if porcelain veneers and crowns are the right solutions for you. Contact our team to schedule a complimentary smile design consultation, during which you can sit down with Dr. Taylor and have him answer any questions you might have.