The single stained front tooth is one of the most difficult issues that we dentist face. The discolored tooth is usually from trauma and typically has had a root canal. The dark tooth is commonly caused by either the root canal filling material, dead tissue within the tooth, or secondary dentin formation (extra second layer of the tooth that is laid down as a protective response).
So, what can you do about it?
There are really only 2 options:
1. A porcelain or composite veneer over the stained tooth
These procedures can be completed in 1-2 appointments.
Lower chance of future complications with the root canal
This option has the most predictable outcome of the two
It’s difficult to get a perfect result.
The adjacent teeth will change shades over time, but the veneered tooth will remain the same color (for the most part)
0.5 mm to 1 mm of reduction of the outer portion of the tooth must be accomplished to make room for the restorative material
2. Internal bleaching of the stained tooth.
No tooth reduction (less invasive)
Your actual tooth is left intact
Higher chance of relapse.
Slightly higher chance of issues with the root canal as seen by cervical root resorption.
So, which option is better?
This is the ultimate question. The price is the SAME and frequent maintenance by external bleaching must be performed for both options to keep a uniform appearance of the adjacent teeth. Another possibility with the veneer option is to treat more teeth. By veneering more teeth, you alleviate the issue with uniformity as the adjacent teeth will be a consistent material. It comes down to educating patients on the pros and cons of each procedure and letting patient preference reign. If time is an issue, the veneer option may be YOUR treatment of choice. If you want to be as minimally invasive as possible, bleaching may be YOUR treatment of choice.
We, at Greystone Smile Design, have had great success with both options. Call (205-981-7775) today to see which option would be best for you.