My daughter is a collegiate basketball player in Alabama, but our family lives in Georgia. She may need some cosmetic work on a dark tooth, but I have several concerns. We had a family event in late spring, and while playing volleyball with her cousins, she fell and fractured a front tooth. Our dentist did a root canal on the tooth, but it’s starting to turn gray. Our dentist recommends a veneer, but I don’t want her to have anything artificial done to her tooth if it isn’t necessary. She has a great smile, and I don’t want to mess it up. The other issue is that my daughter says the tooth is sensitive to cold. I’m now worried that she will lose the tooth and need a dental implant. Considering that my daughter is an athlete, I’m unsure if either treatment is correct. If she has another impact on the tooth, is doing cosmetic work a waste of money? – Sean from Atlanta
Ensure a dentist has advanced cosmetic dentistry training before they do any work on your daughter’s tooth. If the dentist who performed the root canal knew how to prevent the tooth from turning dark, this would not be an issue. It is safe to say that you might need to switch dentists to get the issue resolved.
What Causes a Tooth to Turn Dark Soon After Root Canal Treatment?
A tooth can turn dark after root canal treatment from leftover root canal filling material. Consider a few facts about how the issue develops and how a dentist can resolve it:
- Filling materials – If a dentist leaves root canal filling material in the upper portion of a tooth, the tooth will get dark quickly.
- Leftover tooth pulp – If your dentist does not thoroughly remove the pulp inside the tooth, the remaining tissue will decompose, darken, and make your tooth darker.
- Finding a resolution – A skilled cosmetic dentist knows how to whiten the tooth and conceal the discoloration with a porcelain veneer or a porcelain crown if necessary. A cosmetic dentist will ensure the restoration—crown or veneer—will match your daughter’s surrounding tooth.
When an Athlete Needs Cosmetic Dentistry
When an athlete needs cosmetic dentistry, a trained cosmetic dentist can assess which treatment options will give lasting, natural-looking results. Your daughter plays sports at the collegiate level, so no doubt, she wears a mouthguard while she is on the court. An impact on her mouth or face can affect any tooth, including the one that is currently dark. There is no guarantee that a dental restoration will stay intact if your daughter has another accident.
We recommend getting a second opinion from another dentist to discuss treatment options. Let the dentist know that your daughter plays sports and explain your concerns about how long the restoration might last under those conditions.
The dentist will examine and x-ray your daughter’s tooth to determine what is causing the sensitivity. If the tooth is still healthy on the inside, there is no need to replace it with a dental implant. But a cosmetic dentist will explain her options.
San Antonio, Texas cosmetic dentist and prosthodontist Dr. Gilberto Tostado sponsors this post. Meet Dr. Tostado and get details on his training and credentials.