Internal Bleaching (intracoronal bleaching) is a technique used to whiten the appearance of teeth and is different than over-the-counter solutions used to whiten teeth (extracoronal bleaching). Internal bleaching must be conducted by your dentist and can only be performed after successful root canal therapy.
Not everyone is a candidate for internal bleaching and one of our doctors will evaluate your case on an individual basis.
A tooth may suffer discolorations due to different reasons:
Discoloration of a single tooth as a result from caries or previous dental trauma. The discoloration starts from the interior of the tooth and moves outward.
Discoloration of all teeth can be a result of a physiological evolution due to the patient’s age, or possibly from the administration of medicines or patient habits, including smoking.
Internal stains can be bleached, bonded or crowned. While each of these methods is safe and effective, your dentist will recommend which treatment is appropriate for you depending on the state of your teeth and the results that you wish to achieve. Your dentist will consider:
- The degree and type of staining
- How much of the tooth structure is remaining (Is the tooth heavily filled? Are changes to the shape of the teeth needed or desired?)
What is the Difference between Teeth Whitening and Internal Bleaching?
Professional teeth whitening and internal bleaching are two different procedures, but they are meant to achieve the same result. This result is none other than to make the teeth appear whiter. However, these two processes differ widely from each other.
Professional teeth whitening is often called external bleaching. The most common methods of teeth whitening are in-office laser tooth whitening and take-home whitening treatments.
Internal bleaching, on the other hand, is a somewhat invasive teeth whitening process, and is strictly reserved for people who have had root canal surgery.
How does Internal Bleaching Work?
Internal, or non-vital, bleaching is used to lighten a darkly discolored tooth that has had root canal therapy. A chemical oxidizing agent is placed within the coronal portion of a tooth to remove tooth discoloration. It may be performed in the dental office using a procedure known as "chair-side bleach." In this procedure, bleach crystals are placed inside the tooth, left for a period of time, and then removed before leaving the office.This may be done once or several times, depending upon the severity of discoloration of the tooth.
Another method is known as "walking bleach.” In this procedure, bleach crystals are placed inside the tooth, left for several days and then the patient returns to the dental office to have the bleach crystals removed. Again, this procedure may be performed several times.