No More Fear of a Tooth Becoming Dark after Root Canal Treatment

Article by Dr Raha Sepehrara

In the past, having a tooth with a diseased nerve would mean the end of its life and required tooth extraction. Today, all that has changed with root canal treatment that saves the tooth, in the majority of cases.

A tooth may sometimes become dark either after or during a root canal treatment. Although root canals are not noticeable after the treatment, considering that the entire procedure is carried out within the tooth, you may still have discoloured teeth that require cosmetic treatment to fix (i.e. a crown). Most commonly, teeth need a crown after the completion of root canal therapy unless it is an anterior tooth that has been discoloured, and the patient will not benefit from getting a crown. 

The usual reason why this happens (tooth becoming dark after a root canal) is related to the inflamed pulp (the inside of the tooth), where blood vessels rupture and stains from the blood get into the dentinal tubules. When that happens, the tooth loses its vitality, nerve, and blood vessels, meaning it loses its nutrients supply. In the end, the dentin dries out, its microstructure changes, and becomes brittle along with the change in colour.

Of course, not all teeth that have undergone a root canal treatment are doomed to become discoloured. However, it is always vital to recognise a developing problem in its early stage and treat it appropriately for better results.

Why do I need a Root Canal in the First Place?

All teeth have 3 main layers: (1) The Outer Layer on Top of the Tooth (cementum layer), (2) The Inner Dentin, and (3) The Pulp.

The innermost layer is the pulp and contains the blood vessels and the nerves that supply the tooth with nutrients. When the pulp is intact, we have sensation due to the well-functioning nerves and the tooth is healthy due to nutrients provided by the blood vessels.

When a tooth is fractured or decayed, bacteria destroy the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) by eating their way through it. They move on to the dentin layers and end up in the pulp tissue. Once in the pulp tissue, they cause it to break down, following a nerve and blood vessels destruction. As soon as that happens, an infectious process begins within the pulp that ends up in the death of the blood vessels and nerves. This infectious process builds pressure within the tooth, which is why you feel pain. Ultimately, this situation leads to the development of an abscess at the tip of the root. Unless your dentist removes the degraded tissue, the infectious process will continue.

What Happens if you Have Dental Phobias?

Many people have dental-related phobias and fears. Some may be afraid of the equipment used for the various dental treatments while others may feel nervous even by being in a practice. If you are one of them, you are definitely not alone and certainly not hopeless. At the Dental Suite, you will find professionals that have been certified for dental phobias. This means that we not only know how you feel but also how to make you release that fear. With the latest dentistry has to offer right now, we use Sedation Dentistry to put you into a very relaxing state of mind that feels as if you are dreaming while we are performing the necessary procedures per case. Throughout the treatment, you hear your favourite music, smell you most beloved scent (aromatherapy), and are seated in a very cosy environment that doesn’t look like much of a clinic.

So, although most of the time a root canal is a procedure that causes minimum-to-no discomfort, we can make it a fantastic experience for you that feel nervous about having one, bringing back your lost confidence and smile.

If you have unanswered questions or further concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us and have your first consultation  



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