After I broke one of my front teeth, my dentist did a root canal on it. That was six months ago. The tooth is now starting to discolor. My dentist is recommending a porcelain crown for this tooth, but I really don’t like that idea. Is there another option?
I can give you some guidelines and principles. As far as recommending a treatment for this front tooth of yours, I would need to do an examination. But hopefully I can be helpful.
It’s typical to get a crown placed on a tooth after a root canal treatment. This is especially important for back teeth, because those teeth are very susceptible to vertical fracture, which would cause you to lose that tooth.
On a front tooth, there isn’t so much risk of vertical fracture, but we still often will do a porcelain crown. It doesn’t always need a crown. Sometimes, the right kind of post will strengthen the tooth enough. But then you have the problem of discoloration. Although it should take several years before a root canal treated front tooth will discolor, if the dentist doesn’t seal off certain root canal filling materials and confine them just to the root of the tooth, it will discolor sooner. That’s apparently what’s happening in your case.
And there are other ways to treat a discolored root canal tooth. There is a special form of tooth whitening that can be used to whiten this tooth from the inside. Or a porcelain veneer or a Lumineer can correct the color. But if a large portion of your tooth has broken off, I would probably lean toward having the crown.
Many dentists will want to do a porcelain fused to metal crown on a front tooth. This type of crown looks white and generally will match your other front teeth, but they look opaque and they will eventually get a dark line at the gumline. In our practice, we do all-porcelain crowns on front teeth, and they look beautiful and perfectly natural, so that you can’t tell them from a natural tooth. Dentists who are good at doing all-porcelain crowns will far prefer them and will recommend them. If your dentist doesn’t recommend this on his or her own, take that as a signal that they aren’t comfortable doing this type of crown, and don’t try to push him or her out of their comfort zone – the results could be disastrous.
I hope this is helpful to you.