If my front tooth is turning gray and dying, will it get whiter after root canal treatment? I fell a month ago and hit my mouth. I was hoping that the tooth would feel better, but it did not. I went to the dentist, and he tested the tooth and did an x-ray. He says that he can save it with a root canal. But he said that he could not promise me that the tooth will lighten up. Then, he mentioned that he could use a porcelain veneer on the tooth if it does not improve. Should I see another dentist about this? – Thank you. Linda W. from GA
Thank you for your question.
Will Root Canal Treatment Lighten Your Tooth?
If your dentist performs traditional root canal treatment on your tooth, it will not get lighter. Usually, after root canal treatment, a tooth turns darker. Root canal filler material and dental cement left after the process will darken the crown of the tooth.
A dentist can improve tooth color with these steps:
- Clean out the materials
- Bleach the tooth to lighten it
- Further lighten the tooth with a porcelain veneer
Consider an Endodontist for Root Canal Treatment
If your dentist has limited experience with root canal treatment, consider asking your dentist to refer you to an endodontist (root canal treatment) who uses the GentleWave® system.
- GentleWave uses sodium hypochlorite to dissolve the infected tooth pulp (tissue and nerves), which may lighten the tooth somewhat.
- The procedure only lasts about ten minutes, which is not enough time to lighten your tooth as much as you want
- Bleaching the tooth afterward can achieve good results
Your dentist can insert a flexible fiberglass post into the root for a front tooth and fill the space with composite. The post will help stabilize the front tooth and avoid needing a dental crown—which can weaken a front tooth and increase the risk of fracture.
Most family dentists find color correction a challenge after root canal treatment on front teeth. So, unless your dentist has advanced cosmetic dentistry training, we recommend getting a second opinion from a cosmetic dentist.
Steven Brooksher, DDS of Baton Rouge, LA, sponsors this post. Dr. Brooksher is an accredited cosmetic dentist.