I had a damaged tooth years ago that was repaired by an oral surgeon. Since the repair, it’s always been a bit discolored and the gum misplaced in a way that exposes some dentin. I’d decided I wanted to try to get the color even with the rest of my teeth. My dentist suggested I try Crest Whitestrips. I was excited to try them. Everything was fine for the first week. Then, my injured tooth began to hurt. At first, I thought it was a fluke but when the pain didn’t subside, I decided to stop the treatment. It’s been two weeks and the pain is still there. My dentist thinks I need root canal treatment. I have some questions. Do you think a root canal treatment is the way to go? If so, is this a common side effect of teeth whitening? If so, should I have been warned of this ahead of time?
First, I need to express that your dentist doesn’t understand much about teeth whitening. Which, if I’m honest, sort of frightens me. While there are quite a few cosmetic procedures, such as a smile makeover with porcelain veneers, which require serious expertise, teeth whitening generally isn’t one of them. That’s a procedure I’d thought every dentist understood, at least until your question.
The first thing he did wrong is forgetting that the whitening strips only whiten your front six teeth. While it obviously was able to reach the necessary tooth, it will whiten all six teeth uniformly. So, while your darker tooth will whiten, so will the other five along with it, causing it still to be the tooth which is darker than the others.
Did the Teeth Whitening Cause this?
I’m not sure what’s going on with your sensitive tooth. While it is certainly irritated, I couldn’t tell you if it is infected. An x-ray should help. Also, a cold-sensitivity test would indicate a need for a root canal treatment.
As for whether or not bleaching your teeth can cause sensitive teeth, it’s possible. It’s always important to do any whitening procedure under the supervision of a dentist. While Crest Whitestrips are much weaker than professional teeth whitening, you do have exposed dentin. It’s possible the whitening just threw the tooth over the edge.
The bigger question for you is where do you go from here? I’d get a second opinion from a different dentist. Let them do an x-ray and exam along with a test for cold sensitivity. If a root canal treatment is necessary it will solve the problem. If it’s not, he can help you discover what is.
Can You Get This Tooth to Look Beautiful?
If you really want to improve the look of your smile, what you need is a consultation with a truly skilled cosmetic dentist. It takes both technical knowledge and skill, along with an artistic eye to create beautiful smiles. See if there is an AACD accredited dentist in your area. If not, check the mynewsmile.com website and see who they recommend near you.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.