What Can You Do if Your Tooth Goes Gray After a Root Canal?
A gray tooth can be an unfortunate consequence of a root canal. Sure, the tooth's damaged nerve has been removed and the tooth is safe, but the fact that the tooth no longer has an active supply of blood can result in the tooth taking on a gray color. So what can be done about it?
After a Filling
Firstly, if you were to develop a gray tooth after a root canal, you will only notice it when the root canal was sealed by a filling, leaving the majority of the tooth's natural surface intact. Other forms of restorative dentistry (such as a dental crown) will have covered the entire tooth after a root canal, meaning you wouldn't be able to see any discoloration. There might be nothing wrong with a gray tooth after a root canal, aside from that unattractive new color. Still, this can be a pretty big problem.
Don't Bleach the Problem
A gray tooth can't be bleached back to its former self, so don't begin a whitening treatment thinking that it will quickly rectify the issue. This type of discoloration is known as intrinsic staining, meaning it has developed from within the tooth. This in turn means that tackling the issue from the exterior of the tooth (such as by bleaching) won't give you the results you want.
Your dentist will be able to correct the issue, but this correction is concealment. The tooth itself is perfectly intact (despite that color), so it's not as though it needs any further assistance in terms of its health. It's just a case of covering up the gray. There are three ways in which your dentist will achieve this.
- Dental bonding is the application of a thin layer of composite resin over the tooth, masking the gray underneath.
- A dental veneer is a thin layer of tooth-shaped porcelain, attached to the outward-facing surface of the tooth.
- A dental crown (usually also made of porcelain) caps the tooth in its entirety, offering full protection.
These materials are all color-matched to your natural teeth, meaning that the gray tooth will be entirely hidden beneath the restoration work. The best option depends on which tooth has gone gray and whether there are any secondary considerations. A tooth that is subjected to a great deal of bite pressure (such as a molar) will benefit from a crown, whereas a veneer or bonding should be sufficient for an incisor or canine.
It's generally irreversible when a tooth turns gray after a root canal, but your dentist will be able to seamlessly and permanently disguise that unsightly discoloration. For more information, contact services like Pacific Ave Dental/Allan L. Hablutzel, DDS.