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Brian LeSage, DDS, FAGD, FAACD

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I need a root canal on a porcelain veneer tooth

The pain that I thought was a sinus infection turned out to be a tooth infection. My dentist referred me to an endodontist for a tooth with a porcelain veneer on it for eight years. I am concerned that after the root canal, I will need to replace the veneer. Is the endodontist the right one to do the work without damaging my veneer or turning my tooth dark beneath it? Ji from NV

Ji,

An endodontist is a root canal specialist. And without root canal treatment, the infection will spread into your bone. We are concerned about how a porcelain veneer tooth got infected.

Porcelain Veneer and Root Canal Treatment

You might need root canal treatment on a root can tooth if the tooth becomes weak and stressed. Sometimes aggressive tooth reparation will make a tooth weak.

Conservative Porcelain Veneer Preparation

Depth-limiting diamond bur applied to teeth for porcelain veneer preparation

Minimal porcelain veneer preparation can prevent the need for root canal treatment

A dentist should only remove a half millimeter or less of tooth enamel when preparing for porcelain veneers. One technique, as shown to the right, uses a diamond bur that limits the depth of preparation. Half-millimeter grooves in the tooth are enough to ensure veneers fit well without making teeth look bulky. A cosmetic dentist uses a conventional diamond bur to remove the ridges.

Aggressive Porcelain Veneer Preparation

When a dentist removes too much tooth enamel, the dentin (layer beneath the enamel) is exposed. And the tooth is at greater risk of stress and needing a root canal treatment.

Tooth Color After Root Canal Treatment

A tooth turns dark after root canal treatment. And since porcelain veneers have translucence, the darkness will show through. An advanced cosmetic dentist can improve your tooth color with these steps:

  • Clean out the root canal filler material from your tooth
  • Place a flexible white fiberglass post into the tooth root
  • Fill the remaining space with a light-colored composite

Treatment like the above will prevent darkening for five to ten years.

If your dentist placed and bonded your porcelain veneer correctly, you should not lose it.

 

Dr. Brian LeSage, an accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry in Beverly Hills, sponsors this post.

I need a root canal on a porcelain veneer tooth

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