Interesting Case Study: Dental Whitening
A 50 years old female patient came to my office for impressions for an in-home tooth whitening. She explained that she had just one tooth that was grayer than the others and that was all that bothered her. An inspection revealed that the gray was on an upper central incisor near the biting edge. The gray showed through for about 4mm.
This patient has ground her front teeth down so that the edge was starting to show dentin, the tooth structure under the enamel. This area had started to decay, or at least was trapping bacteria and that is what was causing the tooth to turn gray.
The treatment for this one tooth was very simple: without anesthesia I was able to remove the stained part of the tooth, carefully drilling from the edge, totally preserving the outside enamel as well as the inside enamel. This exposed slot was then filled with filling material which totally took care of the problem.
Because of the source of the graying, the whitening would most likely not have done much for this patient’s concern. A good inspection of the problem and listening to the patient usually helps to find the right solution!