How Does Internal Bleaching Work?

Team Endodontics, Root Canal

Teeth can become discolored for all sorts of reasons. A general yellowing of the teeth happens over time due to stains from food and beverages and the natural aging process that causes the enamel to thin out. This can usually be remedied with regular teeth whitening treatments. 

But a single tooth that is darker than the rest and appears gray or brown from the inside is an entirely different situation. This tooth may have been damaged due to infection or trauma that has left dead tissue inside. A tooth like this will need internal bleaching

What is Internal Bleaching? 

Internal bleaching is a process that whitens a tooth from the inside. The procedure is done in the following steps: 

  1. The decayed or dead tissue will be removed from the tooth. 
  2. A bleaching agent will be placed inside the tooth. 
  3. The tooth is temporarily sealed. 
  4. Over time the bleaching agent will take effect and the tooth will gradually lighten in color. 
  5. Once the tooth has reached the desired shade of white, the bleaching agent is removed. 
  6. The tooth is permanently sealed. 

Causes of Internal Discoloration

A tooth may become discolored on the inside due a variety of reasons: 

  • Tooth infection. A tooth can become infected if bacteria enters the root canal through a deep cavity. The soft tissue inside the tooth, the dental pulp, can become infected, causing internal bleeding and discoloration. 
  • Cracked tooth. A cracked tooth may become discolored if bacteria enters the root canal through the crack and infects the dental pulp. 
  • Broken tooth. A broken tooth may become discolored due to internal bleeding or dead tissue inside. 
  • Dental trauma. A tooth that gets bumped hard enough can develop internal damage that cuts off the blood supply to the dental pulp and causes it to die, resulting in discoloration. 

Who Provides Internal Bleaching? 

Internal bleaching is a procedure offered by endodontists. An endodontist specializes in treating teeth from the inside, such as infections of the dental pulp or damage from trauma. This makes them uniquely qualified to provide internal bleaching. Not only does the tooth need to be whitened from the inside, the tooth needs to be treated to ensure that it is healthy. Procedures such as root canal therapy restore the health of teeth so that they can remain in place for many years to come. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Internal Bleaching

How long do the results of internal bleaching last? 

The results of internal bleaching typically last an average of 5-7 years, but may even be permanent. Once the source of the discoloration is removed, the tooth will most likely keep its newly whitened color from the inside. External staining may still occur as it does on the teeth in general. 

Does internal bleaching cause sensitivity? 

No, internal bleaching does not cause tooth sensitivity because the tooth will have had or need to have a root canal before the internal bleaching can be done. 

Eagle Endodontics Provides Internal Bleaching 

If you have a tooth that is darker than the rest of your teeth, Eagle Endodontics can help. Through internal bleaching we can remove the dead tissue and whiten the tooth from the inside, helping it match the rest of your teeth for a more natural smile. 

To learn more, contact us today and schedule an appointment.