Internal Tooth Bleaching

What is Internal Tooth Bleaching?

At Contemporary Endodontics, our Team of Endodontists know that internal tooth bleaching can be a very effective method of lightening the appearance of those unsightly dark shadows on teeth that are due to either trauma or a root-filled in the past. The cause of the discoloration is usually due to an internal bleed in the tooth, due to a hard knock to the tooth in the past.

The dark shade of the tooth can be significantly lightened by a few in-chair bleaching treatments. This involves a small access hole drilled into the back of the tooth, the removal of any stained deposits, and the tooth being packed with a special bleaching agent and sealed with a temporary filling.

After a few visits a few days apart, the desired shade color will be reached, and the access hole permanently closed with a small filling.

All the teeth may also be bleached from the exterior of the tooth by using the regular method involving a home application of bleach into individually molded trays.

Clinical Stages for Internal Bleaching

  • Radiographic Examination: A radiograph (x-ray) is needed to make sure that the root canal filling is intact and adequately seals the root canal as well as assuring that the surrounding bone is in a healthy state.
  • Preparation of an “access” cavity: a small cavity (hole) is made in the back of the tooth where the original root canal entered the pulp. The pulp space should be completely cleaned of debris and stain. The canal above the root canal filling is then cleaned and irrigated.
  • “Cervical” seal (seal above the root canal filling): The top end of the root canal filling is then sealed in with a special cement to prevent the bleaching agent from leaking into the root canal filling. This creates a double seal of the root canal space.
  • Application of the bleaching agent: The peroxide bleaching agent is applied to the empty pulp chamber, covered with a cotton pellet, and sealed in with a temporary adhesive restoration. A sound seal is required around the access cavity to prevent leakage of the bleaching agent into the mouth. This procedure is repeated every three to four days until successful bleaching becomes apparent. This normally occurs after one to four visits.
  • Permanent restoration: Once the desired color change has been achieved, a more permanent restoration (filling) which seals the dentin, is required for a successful bleaching therapy. The access cavity is restored with a composite resin (tooth-colored filling material) which bonds to the tooth enamel and dentin.

Internal bleaching is a more conservative option compared to typical restoration procedures such as veneers or crowns but is sometimes used to lighten teeth before the application of these techniques to prevent the discoloration of the natural tooth from showing through. Also, porcelain veneers or crowns may be required not only to achieve improved color but also to strengthen a root canal treated tooth.

Learn More about Internal Tooth Bleaching at Contemporary Endodontics

To learn more about Internal Tooth Bleaching at Contemporary Endodontics, we invite you to contact our office for an appointment.