4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
4518 Valleydale Rd # 103
Birmingham, AL, 35242-4632
Dr. Ernest M. Barnes, DMD,
500 Whitesport Drive
Huntsville, AL, 48334
Keith, Shandra L D.D.S.
2305 Arlington Ave S
Birmingham, AL, 35205-4111
Kerper, Timothy A D.D.S.
626 Leighton Ave # A
Anniston, AL, 36207-5744
Not even the most beautiful teeth can look attractive if healthy and pleasing-looking gums do not surround them. That's because the gums frame the teeth like a picture frame frames a picture. To have a pleasing smile, the shape, color, and texture of the gums are just as important as that of the teeth they frame. Although tooth development, periodontal disease, trauma, or tooth loss can create esthetic gum deformities, modern periodontal procedures and cosmetic dentistry can give individuals a smile to smile about.
As a result of periodontal disease, gums may appear red, swollen, and shiny. If an individual has gingivitis or periodontitis, the gums have to be periodontally treated prior to cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Teeth that appear too short may be normal-sized teeth hiding under too much gum. This can be the result of normal tooth development, or the use of certain medications that may cause gums to overgrow. Either way, a crown lengthening procedure can help reveal the normal tooth structure.
If the teeth appear to be too long or if the root surfaces are exposed, it may be due to gum recession. Soft tissue grafting is very successful in correcting this problem.
If the gum margins appear to be higher on some teeth and lower on others, this may be due to gum recession, altered eruption, or gum defects that resulted from tooth loss. The treatment of uneven gum margins may require crown lengthening, soft tissue grafting, ridge augmentation, or a combination of these procedures.
After a tooth is lost, the bone that encased it disintegrates and the gum around it may collapse, creating an indentation where the tooth used to be. Ridge augmentation procedures can help correct this problem.
Changes in the color of the gums may be part of normal gum development, or the result of scarring. Soft tissue grafts can predictably correct this problem.
Periodontal disease can result in spaces in between the teeth that may appear like black triangles. These spaces can be very difficult to treat. They can be made less unattractive by a combination of procedures that include orthodontics (braces), crowns (caps), and/or periodontal (gum) surgery. The best way to avoid these spaces is to treat periodontal disease in its early stages and avoid the need later for cosmetic dentistry.
One or more missing teeth can be predictably replaced with the aid of dental implants. Dental implants can look and feel like natural teeth.
Changes in the appearance of the gums can occur as a result of normal tooth development, periodontal disease, trauma, or tooth loss. By working with a restorative dentist who has expertise in cosmetic dental care and through the aid of modern periodontal techniques, individuals can design a smile that is both esthetic and youthful in appearance.
By Laura Minsk, DMD
We have all seen smiles that you know have dental crowns in the front. You look at them and say to yourself that something is not natural. Many times, it is the dark rim of gum tissue that gives it away. The dark rim of gum tissue does not occur around natural teeth, only around teeth that have been covered with dental crowns.
The dark line is associated with an old porcelain dental crown. This style of dental crown is referred to as porcelain fused-to-metal dental crowns because it uses tooth-colored porcelain on the outside and it uses metal under the porcelain for strength. The dark line originates from the edge of the dental crowns where the porcelain and the metal meet at a knife-edge at the gum line. At the knife-edge, a very thin amount of the metal always shows. One of the illusionary techniques cosmetic dentists have used was to hide the thin dark line under the gum line. Over time, the gum tissue would recede and expose the dark line. In some patients the dark line would show through the gum and make it appear dark as well.
The only way to eliminate the esthetic problem is to replace the dental crowns. When replacing just one single dental crown in the front, you should expect that it might take more than one try-in of the new dental crown before it is permanently cemented into place. Because your central incisors are the most prominent teeth in the mouth, matching them is the most difficult esthetic challenge. Only the best dental technicians are able to mimic one central incisor tooth next to another.
Some of the clever ways dentists and dental technicians have been able to mimic natural teeth is through the new advancements in dental materials. New all-tooth-colored ceramic dental crowns are the latest technological advancement cosmetic dentists have to recreate natural teeth. In comparison to porcelain fused-to-metal dental crowns, all-ceramic dental crowns do not contain any metal, thus no dark line can appear.
Some advantages and disadvantages of all-ceramic dental crowns are as follows:
Dental crowns often need to be replaced after several years of service for esthetic or functional reasons. With the growing esthetic awareness of patients and the available ceramic technology, this type of re-treatment is becoming more common in the dental office.
By Benjamin O. Watkins, III, DDS