Last year I fell during my morning run and fractured my right front tooth, and now the tooth is dark. My dentist did a root canal on the tooth, so I wasn’t expecting it to turn dark. My dentist didn’t mention that I should expect it either. I had an exam two weeks ago, and my dentist explained that sometimes root canal teeth turn dark. How do I know that the tooth is not decaying and that I will eventually need a dental implant? My dentist says she can put a veneer over the tooth. I don’t want to say that I do not trust my dentist, but I am skeptical because she didn’t warn me that it might turn dark. Although my smile is not perfect, I like it. And people compliment my smile. Should I be concerned about my dark tooth, or is it okay to proceed with a porcelain veneer? And what if the veneer doesn’t match my other teeth? Thank you – Emery, from Jackson, MS
Although Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your tooth for an accurate diagnosis, a porcelain veneer can conceal a dark tooth.
Why Does a Tooth Turn Dark After Root Canal Treatment?
A tooth turns dark after root canal treatment due to dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) staining or leftover root canal filler material.
- Dentin stain – When the pulp—living tissue, nerves, and blood vessels—inside your tooth dies, it can stain the dentin. And dentin is the layer beneath your tooth enamel. If a dentist does not thoroughly clean out the infected tooth pulp during root canal treatment, it will stain the dentin and how through your tooth.
- Leftover root canal filler material – Some root canal filler materials accelerate tooth darkness if a dentist leaves the material in the tooth crown. But a skilled cosmetic dentist knows to clean filler material to slow the darkening process.
Treatment for a Dark Root Canal Tooth
Internal bleaching will lighten a dark root canal tooth. After bleaching, a cosmetic dentist will work with a skilled ceramist to craft a porcelain veneer that perfectly matches the characteristics and color of your natural teeth.
Unless you have an advanced tooth infection or new trauma to the tooth, your dentist should not suggest aggressive treatment. Instead, a dentist will recommend a dental implant if they or an endodontist (root canal specialist) cannot save your tooth.
Get a Second Opinion for Your Dark Tooth
If your dentist does not have advanced cosmetic dentistry training, you can check the credentials of a few cosmetic dentists in your area. Schedule a consultation with one or two cosmetics to discuss your options for whitening your dark tooth.
Steven Brooksher, DDS, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Baton Rouge, sponsors this post.