Bleaching, Restoring and Gum Contouring

The patient, a young dental student, came to the office complaining about central incisor discoloration. He had undergone trauma more than 10 years earlier, and tooth 11 was endodontically treated. During the first appointment vitality tests were performed on 21, which resulted to have lost vitality. We decided to perform a root canal treatment of 21 and a retreatment of 11, followed by internal bleaching.

vita color shade selection

Pre-operative pictures are very important to select the proper shade and to evaluate bleaching treatment.

root canal retreatment and RCT

Root canal treatment of 21 and re-treatment of 11 were performed, obviously after rubber dam isolation.

measuring of the canal seal before internal bleaching

We need to properly seal the canal, to avoid any bleaching agent to go beyond the clinical crown causing root resorption. A probe is useful to evaluate the position of the point to be sealed.

canal sealing before internal bleaching

Canals are sealed using a self-etching adhesive and a drop of flowable composite.  Then the bleaching agent (35% hydrogen peroxide) was applied and the cavities were filled with a temporary restoration.

check-up after internal bleaching

The bleaching agent was replaced once a week. After 4 weeks the discoloration of 21 had completely reverted, but tooth 11 still had a dark shade.

gum zenith level comparison

Considering the young age of the patient, we decided to try with a simple direct composite restoration, in order to be as conservative as possible, and to limit the cost of the treatment. To obtain enough thickness to cover the discoloration without removing sound structure, we thought we could exploit the slight palatal tipping of 11. In this picture we can also appreciate that gingival margins are not visually at the same level.

rubber dam isolation with b4 clamps

Rubber dam isolation is mandatory to perform adhesive procedures.

IV class cavity before restoration

The old restoration was removed and the buccal surface of 11 was polished with a red ring flame diamond bur. A small bevel was created on the buccal margin.

enamel bonding and opaque layering

After adhesive procedures (Universal Bond, Tokuyama) a thin layer of opaque stain (Estelite Color MCO, Tokuyama) was applied to cover the discoloration. This is very important to reduce the required thickness.

LM Gengiva for cervical emergence of restoration

A specific instrument (Gengiva, LM) was used as a matrix to create a new cemento-enamel junction in a more apical position. This step was necessary to level the gingival margins of the two central incisors.

cervical composite reshaping

The new emergence profile is now sustaining the rubber dam.

silicone index palatal layering

It’s so easy to make a mistake about opacity and translucency. Having translucent composite in the wrong place will lead to a low value (grey) of the restoration. This is why we decided to create most of the palatal wall with a body mass (Asteria A2B, Tokuyama).

palatal composite shell with silicone key

Just the incisal third of the palatal shell was made with enamel (Asteria NE, Tokuyama).

posterior matrix for incisor composite shape

A posterior metal matrix can be perfect to easily restore the proximal wall.

composite box for incisor class IV restoration

Once the shell is complete, we just need to fill it.

composite layering with incised halo

We always try to reduce as much as we can the number of different composite used. In this case just a body mass (Asteria A2B, Tokuyama) was used to restore the dentinal body. The same composite was applied in the incisal edge to reproduce an opaque halo.

composite layering on central incisor

A translucent mass (Estelite Color Clear, Tokuyama) was used to enhance the differences between the mamelons, then the incisal third was covered with a layer of enamel (Asteria NE, Tokuyama). With this composite, just the translucent areas need to be covered by enamel; the middle third was just made with a body shade.

pencil marks for transitional lines

A simple pencil is a great help for contouring.

gum recontouring after composite restoration

After finishing and polishing procedures, the rubber dam was removed.

pencil marks for proximal shaping of composite

After one week a pencil was used once again to plan a new contouring of the restoration.

composite restoration before polishing

The situation after the second contouring.

color assessment of composite incisor restoration

The situation after the second contouring.

polarized picture for color check

A polarized picture taken with MDP.

comparison of gum zenith before and after

Before and after. In this picture it’s easy to see how the gingival margins have changed.

final result of composite direct restoration

Final picture with MDP.

comparison of gum zenith before and after styleitaliano

5-month check-up.



Being conservative is always really important, from any point of view. We should also keep in mind that we only have one right diagnosis, but there might be more than one correct treatment plan. So it’s mandatory to look at the whole picture and consider every aspect of the situation.
It’s not just about the tooth, the arch, the mouth. It’s about the patient, his age, his attitude, his compliance, his financial situation and a lot of other factors.
Bleaching should always be performed (or at least attempted) in cases like this.


1. Devoto W, Saracinelli M, Manauta J. Composite in everyday practice: how to choose the right material and simplify application techniques in the anterior teeth.Eur J Esthet Dent. 2010 Spring;5(1):102-24.
2. Paolone G, Orsini G, Manauta J, Devoto W, Putignano A. Composite shade guides and color matching.Int J Esthet Dent. 2014 Summer;9(2):164-82.
3. Zarow, Maciej. EndoProsthodontics. A Guide for Practicing Dentists. 2017


styleitaliano style italiano proximal caries cover image snowplow technique direct posterior restoration bulk composite Kerr SimpliShade Bulk Fill composite restoration

Bulk flow for Snowplow

Bulk fill composites and the Snowplow technique make it seem easy to get optimum marginal seal and anatomically accurate restorations.