A person’s smile tends to be the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. So, to many, having a beautiful set of pearly whites is essential. However, when you have a traumatized tooth from an injury or previous dental procedure, whitening it may seem daunting. Still, it can be done and shouldn’t hold you back from discovering your options.
An injury can cause a lot of things to happen in your mouth—pain, breakage, misalignment, sensitivity, and color discoloration. The reason why the color can change after an injury is the nerve in the tooth. Through blunt force, such as a fall, sports injury, or another type of accident, the blood vessels that flow into your tooth can become damaged. This pinches off the blood supply, which causes the nerve tissue to die.
When this happens, the interior of the tooth can collect bacteria that can cause a dark grey, brown, or yellow pigment to your tooth. Sometimes this process occurs almost immediately, but can also take months.
When a tooth is damaged, it doesn’t usually respond well to traditional external whitening procedures. That is because the discoloration is coming from the inside. It isn’t necessarily caused by surface stains like tartar and plaque build-up, smoking, or excessive coffee or soda consumption.
Instead, your dentist will usually whiten your single discolored tooth by treating the inside of it. Internal bleaching is done by drilling a small hole in the back of the traumatized tooth to gain access to the pulp chamber. Then they apply dental cement to protect the tooth’s root from the whitening product and fill it with a special bleaching agent.
The hole is then temporarily covered, and over the next few days, the tooth will begin to lighten in color. Depending on the severity, the procedure can take up to four visits to reach desired results. Once the internal bleaching is complete, a permanent tooth-colored resin will cover the hole.
If this process doesn’t whiten your damaged tooth, you may also consider an artificial external covering, such as a veneer or crown. If you wish to whiten the rest of your smile, you’ll often do that first, then have your natural-looking veneer or crown colored to match.
Of course, nerve damage isn’t the only form of staining. There are many other factors to consider– the use of certain medications, improper cleaning, delayed effects of a root canal, as well as the use of dark-colored fillings for cavities, among others.
Our team at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry can determine the root cause of your discoloration and design a custom whitening treatment for you. Schedule an appointment today to see how we can whiten your smile.
Contact our South Huntington Office (631.423.6563) today.
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