My son has a tooth where the nerve has died due to trauma. As a result, the tooth is turning slightly gray. My dentist is suggesting a Gentle Wave Root Canal Treatment which he says will whiten the tooth. I am a tad skeptical of this and wonder if it is better if we just get a dental crown to make the tooth look whiter. I have always been told that a root canal treatment will darken a tooth, not lighten it. Am I misunderstanding something?
The GentleWave system is fairly new but it has received great reviews in all the dental literature I have read. While a traditional root canal treatment uses files to clean things out, GentleWave uses sodium hypochlorite that has been activated using sonic energy to soften the tissue. While that ingredient is often used in laundry detergent, its whitening effects would be minimal.
There is a method to keeping a tooth whiter after a root canal treatment. One of the things that causes the dark color is the left over root canal filling material. Here is what I suggest to get the tooth its whitest. First, Make sure the dentist removed all the material from inside the tooth. Really clean it out. Then, if you want to do some internal bleaching, that is okay too.
Once that it done, your dentist should place a white fiberglass post and fill the area with composite filling. This will keep the tooth from turning darker for a much longer period of time.
I do not recommend you get a dental crown for the purposes of making a tooth look whiter. In may opinion, that is an overtreatment as it removes healthy tooth structure. If it becomes necessary to make a cosmetic adjustment, I would suggest a porcelain veneer, but you will want to go to a dentist with advanced cosmetic training for that.
This blog is brought to you by Atlanta Periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey.