Internal bleaching is a treatment that is done to give an avital (dead) tooth that has been discolored back to its original color.
What are the preparations for treatment?
First of all, your dentist will check in your file whether a root canal treatment has been performed on the element. An X-ray of the dead tooth also shows whether root canal filling material is present in the canal, and whether it forms a good seal at the bottom of the root canal. If this is the case, the bleaching treatment can be started; if this is not the case, the root canal treatment must be carried out again.
Is the treatment painful?
The bleaching treatment is not at all painful, because the element in question is dead.
How often do I have to come to the practice?
At least twice, probably more often.
What inconveniences can I expect during treatment?
Hardly any inconvenience. The emergency filling, which is applied to the back of the tooth during bleaching, can fall out due to pressure from the bleaching agent. The bleaching process stops as soon as the emergency filling has been removed. It is then wise to call the practice for a new appointment. The failure of the emergency filling is not an emergency; if it happens during the weekend, you can quietly wait until Monday to have a new emergency filling installed. In the meantime, keep the tooth clean by brushing the back with extra precision.
For the root canal treatment, a hole was drilled in the back of the tooth at the time, it will be filled with a temporary or permanent filling. For the bleaching treatment only this filling needs to be removed. This provides access to the inside of the tooth.
A bleaching agent is added to the resulting cavity, the cavity is closed with an emergency filling. After this you can go home immediately, the bleaching process has started and will continue for a few days. This is also referred to as the "walking bleach" method.
If you look in the mirror the next day, you will see a difference. After about four days the bleaching agent is finished. You have already received a follow-up appointment and your dentist checks to what extent the tooth has been bleached. The emergency filling is removed and new bleach is added to the tooth. A new emergency filling is added and you can go home again. Often after a second or third visit the tooth is bleached far enough. The color always decreases slightly, so your dentist will make the tooth a little whiter than the neighboring elements. If the tooth is white enough, the emergency filling and the bleaching material are removed and a permanent white (composite) filling is made in the rear of the tooth.
Which additional objections can I expect?
None, unless the root canal treatment does not close the root tip properly. However, this must be checked before bleaching. The internal bleaching treatment usually gives an excellent end result, but after a few years the color can suddenly decrease considerably. Bleaching again is no problem in that case.
Alternatives and pros and cons
Alternatives to whiten or make such a gray tooth look whiter are a composite or porcelain facing and a crown. Bleaching is the least expensive and least damaging treatment, so this will usually be started.