A radiant smile is often regarded as a sign of health, confidence, and happiness. Sometimes, though, even with the best oral care, teeth can become discolored from the inside.
This is where internal bleaching, a specialized procedure in endodontic care, comes into play. Let’s explore what internal bleaching is, why it may be recommended for you, and how it can restore the natural brightness of your smile.
What is Internal Bleaching?
Internal bleaching is a dental procedure designed to whiten a tooth from the inside out. Unlike traditional teeth whitening methods that address external stains on the tooth’s surface, internal bleaching targets discoloration within the tooth itself.
How Does It Differ from External Bleaching?
Internal bleaching varies from external bleaching in several different ways:
- Target Area: External bleaching focuses on stains on the tooth’s surface, often caused by foods, drinks, or smoking. Internal bleaching addresses discoloration from within the tooth.
- Procedure: External bleaching uses trays or strips applied to the tooth’s exterior, while internal bleaching involves a dental professional placing a whitening agent inside the tooth.
- Cause of Discoloration: Internal discoloration is typically caused by injury or a previous dental procedure, not lifestyle or dietary habits, which often influence external staining.
Why Might a Tooth Need Internal Bleaching?
There are several reasons a tooth might become discolored from the inside and benefit from internal bleaching:
- Trauma or Injury: A blow to a tooth can lead to internal bleeding, which may cause discoloration that is visible on the outside.
- Previous Dental Work: Some dental procedures, such as root canals, can occasionally result in tooth discoloration over time.
- Decay or Infection: Dental issues can sometimes affect the internal structure of the tooth, leading to a darker appearance.
- Medications: Certain medications can cause internal staining.
The Internal Bleaching Process
Internal bleaching is a specialized procedure typically performed by an endodontist. If you’re considering internal bleaching, it’s essential to understand the steps involved.
1. Consultation and Examination
Discussion: We will discuss your concerns and desired outcomes.
Examination: A thorough examination, often including X-rays or other imaging, will determine if internal bleaching is suitable for you.
2. Preparing the Tooth
Access: If the tooth has had a root canal, Dr. Susin or Dr. Ritter will access the tooth’s interior through the existing filling. If not, a small hole is made in the back of the tooth.
Cleaning: The inside of the tooth is cleaned to remove any debris or discoloration.
3. Application of the Bleaching Agent
Placement: A special whitening agent is placed inside the tooth.
Sealing: The tooth is temporarily sealed to keep the whitening agent in place.
4. Observation Period
Duration: The bleaching agent is typically left inside the tooth for several days.
Monitoring: You may have follow-up appointments with our office to check the progress of your whitening.
5. Final Steps
Removal: Once the desired shade is achieved, the bleaching agent is removed.
Permanent Sealing: The tooth is then sealed with a permanent filling to prevent future contamination.
Benefits of Internal Bleaching
Internal bleaching offers several advantages.
- Effective Whitening: It addresses deep discoloration that external methods like bleaching trays or whitening strips can’t solve.
- Long-lasting Results: With proper care, the results of internal bleaching can last for years.
- Safe: When performed by our skilled doctors, internal bleaching is a safe procedure with minimal risks.
- Boosted Confidence: A brighter, more uniform smile can enhance your self-esteem and confidence.
Is Internal Bleaching Right for You?
While internal bleaching can be transformative, it’s not suitable for everyone. Here are some considerations:
- Previous Dental Work: Internal bleaching is primarily for teeth that have had a root canal or are no longer "alive." Although the whitening process will work to brighten the natural tooth structure, any existing fillings or dental work will not whiten, and may have to be replaced.
- Overall Oral Health: Healthy gums and surrounding teeth are crucial for the procedure’s success.
- Expectations: Discuss desired outcomes with our specialists to ensure they’re achievable.
It’s worthwhile to consult with us if you believe you may be a candidate for internal tooth whitening. In most cases, a general dentist will refer you to an endodontist for teeth bleaching treatment.
Interested in Internal Teeth Bleaching?
A bright, uniform smile can make a world of difference in your confidence and how you present yourself to the world. Internal bleaching, offered by endodontic specialists, often provides an effective solution for teeth discolored from the inside.
If you’re concerned about a discolored tooth, consult with Ritter Endodontics today to explore your options and determine whether internal bleaching is the right choice for you. Your radiant smile awaits! Call (919) 403-5000 and let’s see how we can help.