How To Fix A Discolored Tooth. To remove discoloration for a single darkened tooth, while perfectly matching the other natural teeth, is considered to be the hardest cosmetic dental procedure out there. All hope is not lost- depending on the darkness of the tooth, it can be treated by a few different methods.
A darkened tooth could indicate that something is wrong with it; it’s essential to have your doctor assess the health of the tooth. There’s a possibility that a tooth that has suffered trauma could have a fractured root, which an x-ray could determine. Unfortunately, if your tooth has a fractured root, the tooth cannot be saved and must be extracted immediately before an infection or abscess presents itself. If there is no fracture, but you have symptoms of cold sensitivity and pain on biting, you’ll need to have a root canal.
The easiest and most conservative step is to have it internally bleached. A root canal is required in order to help open the tooth and allow for the whitening solution. Over a week or two the tooth will lighten. The main drawback to this is that sometimes this bleaching method will not totally lighten the tooth. The discoloration has a tendency to come back over a period of time, and the process will need to be repeated.
The next option is to have a composite filling. Like the internal whitening, it’s also a conservative approach. It’s also one of the least expensive options. However, it’s longevity and effectiveness are not guaranteed, and will be something that you’ll need to have touched up every so often.
Another route to take is to have porcelain veneers placed on the dark tooth. Think of a veneer as a lightweight raincoat- it’s a light but strong opaque layer of porcelain over the tooth. It’ll cover one side of the tooth completely, and will last longer than a composite filling. Depending on the shape and straightness of your tooth, a potential drawback of a veneer is that your tooth might need to be filed down slightly to fit them. Removing a small amount of your tooth could potentially be counterproductive, due to it intensifying the darkness of the tooth.
Now comes the more invasive procedures. A crown completely covers the tooth and will effectively mask the darkness of the tooth, and match your natural teeth. The difference between a crown and veneer is that the materials used for a crown are more effective at blocking out discoloration. A portion of the tooth will have to be removed, but this will ensure that your crown will fit properly.
The most invasive, least conservative approach is to be done with the entire tooth altogether! Having it removed, an implant and implant crown will take the place of the natural tooth. This seemingly straightforward option poses many complications- upon extraction; the gums in the affected area will slightly shrink. This will make gum line harder to maintain once the implant is placed. If the tooth root is fractured, this will be the only option you have.
Ultimately, whichever way you decide to go, you need to take the road that will work the best for you. Dr. Emilio Couret, at Dente Complete Dentistry in Bucktown/Wicker Park, prides himself on fully educating his patients in regards to the care and treatment best suited for your needs. He believes that equipping you with knowledge on several different options is the best way for patients to make an informed decision about their dental health. As always, make sure you understand your treatment and feel comfortable and confident to put your smile first.