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Will a Root Canal Lighten My Gray Tooth?

Posted by AllSmiles

About five years ago, I fell while running a marathon and hit my face. My left front tooth is turning dark, and my dentist referred me to an endodontist for a root canal. The tooth does not hurt. I wonder why my dentist referred me instead of bleaching my teeth. Will my tooth get lighter after a root canal? I don’t want to go through a painful procedure and recovery if a root canal will not improve my tooth’s color. Thank you. Benji from Rockford, IL



Thank you for contacting our office.

When a Tooth Turns Gray

If a tooth turns gray, the nerve inside is likely dead. You do not need root canal treatment unless the tooth is dead or infected.

Will Root Canal Treatment Lighten a Tooth?

Root canal treatment will not lighten a tooth. Unless a dentist cleans out root canal filling material and cement from the portion of a tooth above the gumline, the tooth will darken. Some endodontists use the GentleWave system for root canals. The system uses sodium hypochlorite to dissolve soft tissue inside a tooth. Although sodium hypochlorite can whiten a tooth somewhat, it does not stay inside it long enough to bleach it.

Your dentist can internally bleach your tooth after verifying the successful root canal treatment. Sealing bleaching gel inside the tooth can correct the color. If bleaching is successful, a cosmetic dentist can insert a flexible fiberglass post in the tooth and fill it with a dental composite. Otherwise, a dentist can restore the shade with a porcelain veneer.

Six-step root canal diagram: infection, opening the tooth, removing infection, filling and sealing, post, dental crown
Root canal therapy removes infected tooth pulp but does not whiten a tooth

We recommend scheduling an appointment with an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine your gray tooth and review your X-ray to determine if it is infected. If not, the dentist will discuss your options for whitening it.

Chandler, Arizona, dentists Dr. William Walden and Dr. Tyrel Beavers sponsor this post. They cater to patients with dental anxiety.

2425 S Stearman Dr.
Suite 111
Chandler, AZ 85286
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