It is not uncommon for teeth to turn darker in color either before or after being treated with a root canal. Deposition of pigment within the tooth from the nerve, usually due to major trauma, can cause the tooth to turn either gray or brown. What happens is a reactive process causing calcification within the tooth can cause it to turn yellow. The treatment to regain your bright smile now depends on both the type and the severity of the color change. By far the easiest way to correct the color is by dental bleaching the tooth. The procedure for this is different than for conventional dental bleaching, where you are whitening all of your teeth. The technique involves your dentist or endodontist placing a small amount of extremely strong dental bleaching material inside the tooth where the nerve was. It is placed through the small hole in your tooth through which the root canal was done. A temporary filling is then placed to seal in the dental bleaching material for three to four days. The tooth will start to lighten almost immediately, and you will often see improvement on the night that it was placed. You will have to return to your dentist to have the dental bleaching material replaced because its effectiveness decreases over time. It usually takes two to three applications to regain your bright smile.
Once the tooth is lightened, a permanent filling will be placed. This procedure is very stable and it works best for teeth that have turned brown or gray. Even though the tooth color is lightened, it is difficult to obtain a perfect match with your other teeth. Another treatment option is to use a restoration to cover the tooth to mask the color change. The type of restoration needed will vary depending on how dark the tooth is and how much lighter it needs to be. For teeth that are slightly to moderately dark, the best restoration is a porcelain veneer. Porcelain veneers are thin restorations that, when bonded to the tooth, can change both its shape and color. Because of the thinness of the porcelain veneers, the color may show through the veneer if the tooth is too dark. Therefore, they are most successful for treating color changes that are not severe. For extremely dark teeth, a crown may be indicated to help mask the color. It is important to note that although a crown or veneer may mask the darkness from the tooth, there may still be some darkness from the root that can show slightly through the gum tissue. The effect of this will vary depending on how dark the tooth is and the type of gum tissue. A darker tooth with thinner gum tissue is more likely to have the dark color show through than a lighter tooth with thicker gum tissue.
This darkness may not be a factor if the lip does not move up high enough to show the area at the gum line when smiling. If it does show and is an issue, the treatment will most likely need to include dental bleaching of the tooth, as previously discussed, with or without a restoration. By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD
For months, I was wondering why I was feeling extreme fatigueness, discomfort in my right ear, stomach pains, and painful migraines. Years ago, I had a root canal procedure and it always gave me discomfort. No gum infection or any abscess. I had numerous x-rays done in the past years, and it looked healthy. Surprised why every dentist I went to did not detect on the x-ray a split partial of solid black and white molar tooth. Just recently the pain appear to surface again. For months, I would get repeatedly discomfort pains that come and go. I try to avoid eating anything hard until the pain healed. I was also having medical symptoms that I had no clue it was related to the dead root-canal. A few weeks ago, I went to my dentist and asked for an x-ray and the results revealed a deep infection. I was prescribed amoxicillin for a few weeks to heal the infection before extracting the tooth.
A few weeks later, another x-ray was taken and the infection was gone. The dentist advised I go to a root canal specialist to redo the root canal. I said, no way, I am not going to go through that torture again and requested that it get extracted. The tooth was extracted yesterday. I needed four shots to numb the area surrounding the bottom rear last molar root-canal tooth before proceeding to extract it. The dentist was very gentle and pulled out the giant molar tooth. The dentist said the tooth was odd because half side of the tooth was dark black and hard, while the other half side of it was white. I never seen anything like this before myself. He said that its good the tooth was pulled because it was a bad tooth that even an x-ray couldn\’t reveal. I am feeling so much better and no awful symptoms of fatiqueness, ear pain or migraines. I feel energetic and relieved. I am taking amoxicillin for a few days. Before the winter, I will have bridge-work done for that missing section. Since its the last molar section of the extracted tooth. Its a waste of money to plant an implant in a section that no one will notice. I want to thank my wonderful dentist that was able to extract it and end the pain.