What Is internal bleaching?


An example of a darkened tooth from a root canal or trauma

Internal bleaching can be a fantastic alternative to a crown or veneer in specific scenarios. In a devitalized tooth, or a tooth that has had a root canal or trauma, the tooth will turn gray or brown and darken over time.  As a solution, for many years it was customary to apply a veneer or a crown to the tooth in order to improve the cosmetic appearance of that tooth. The major problem with this, aside from being a more aggressive treatment method, is that because the underlying tooth can be quite dark, and in order for it to not show through, the veneer or crown has to be made fairly opaque in color. This is problematic because, compared to the natural surrounding teeth, which have a good deal of transparency to them, a single opaque veneer can often be extremely obvious, defeating the intended purpose.

The process of internal bleaching

For optimal cosmetic results, we want the tooth to blend seamlessly with the smile. This is where internal bleaching comes in. While most are familiar with traditional external bleaching methods, with internal bleaching, a small opening is made in the back of the tooth and a bleaching agent inserted into the inner tooth, or near the pulp chamber. The opening is then sealed for several days and the bleaching agent reapplied until the desired shade of the tooth is reached. Once everyone is satisfied with the new shade of the tooth, a permanent filling is placed over the opening. This is not only a less expensive option than a veneer or crown, it’s a more conservative approach, allowing for a veneer or crown later down the road if desired.