6825 East Hampden Avenue, Suite 201
Denver, CO 80224
7180 East Orchard Rd Suite 301
Centennial, CO 80111
Dr. Gregory J. Hunter D.D.S.
607 25 Raod, #100
Grand Junction, CO, 81505
Grand Junction Oral Surgery Assoc.
2532 Pattererson Road Suite 10
Grand Junction, CO, 81505
Sedona Dental Office
Suite 170 905 West 124 Th Avenue
Denver, CO, 80234
Jill L. Sumner, D.M.D.
2993 S Peoria St. Suite 210
Aurora, CO, 80014
The most common complaint associated with crowns is that they look "opaque," "lifeless," and "fake" compared to natural teeth. Do you need an expensive dental makeover to solve the problem? No!
The appearance of a crown is affected by many factors, but ultimately, the final result is determined by how the crown reacts with light. Natural teeth have a high degree of translucency, which means a certain amount of light passes through the tooth. The result of this is that the tooth appears to have depth and vitality.
Traditionally, crowns are made of two materials:
Generally, it is this type of crown that can appear opaque. The reason for this is that while porcelain is very translucent and lets light travel easily through it, no light can pass through the underlying metal. In order to prevent the metal color from showing through the porcelain, which would make the crown seem dark or gray, the metal has to be "masked out" with an opaquing material. It is this masking or opaquing that can affect the final appearance, giving rise to the opaque or lifeless look.
The answer is no. One thing that can be done to improve the appearance is to remove the metal margin that goes around the crown. By keeping the metal inside the crown and having porcelain at the junction between the crown and the tooth, the "black line" appearance at the gum line can be eliminated, thereby increasing the translucency in this area. It also is necessary to have an adequate thickness of porcelain over the metal substructure. If the metal that has been masked out is too close to the outer surface of the crown, the appearance of depth is lost. What it mostly comes down to, however, is the skill level and artistry of the technician who is making the crown. When done correctly, porcelain crowns with a metal substructure can give you the best of both worlds without the expense of an extreme makeover. They can be made to exactly match your other teeth while still appearing lifelike, and since there is metal in it, they have increased strength.
Today, there are dental crowns available that do not require a metal substructure and are made of only porcelain. Depending on the specific type, they get their strength either from the bond to the remaining tooth structure or from a dense tooth colored substructure. Since there is no metal, these types of dental crowns allow more light to pass through, which enables them to have more depth and vitality, much like natural teeth. So why isn't this type of crown used all the time? The main reason is that they are not as strong as crowns with a metal substructure. So, if a person grinds their teeth, these crowns have a greater risk of fracture. Another reason why an all-ceramic dental crown cannot be used in all situations is if the underlying tooth structure itself is dark. Very dark teeth are difficult to mask with these types of crowns because of their translucency. In these instances, the dark color may show through the crown. So, for situations where a lot of force will be placed on the teeth (such as grinding habits) or if a tooth is really dark, a well-made porcelain crown with a metal substructure may be a better restoration.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD
There are many cosmetic dentistry options available today that dentists can use to replace missing teeth. The decision to use one instead of another depends on many factors. The best cosmetic dentistry treatment option can be different from person to person or from one area to another in the same mouth.
The purpose of this article is to list the major treatment choices and some of the key factors involved in the cosmetic dentistry treatment decision.
There are four major categories of restorations available for single tooth replacement:
The goal in restoring a missing tooth is choosing the most conservative treatment that will provide you with a restoration that not only looks good but is functional and has long-term stability.
Bonded dental bridges use the teeth adjacent to the empty space to help support the missing tooth. To do this, a very thin piece of metal or tooth-colored material is overlaid and bonded onto the back of the adjacent teeth. Running between these two bonded pieces is a tooth that fills in the empty space.
The main advantage of bonded dental bridges is that it is the most conservative type of dental restoration that uses the adjacent teeth for support. So, if the teeth next to the empty space look good and are not in need of any other type of restorations (fillings), bonded dental bridges may be an option.
However, because this restoration mainly gets its strength from bonding only, the long-term success depends highly on how your teeth fit together, how hard your teeth come together (grinding), and if your teeth are loose or not.
So, how long can this type of dental bridge be expected to last? Looking at long-term research studies, the failure rate is about 25% at five years. This means that one out of every four dental bridges will come off within five years. Generally, they can be re-bonded when they come off, but once it is re-bonded, the chance of it coming off again increases.
A cantilevered type of restoration only uses one tooth next to the empty space to support the missing tooth. Designs for this type of dental bridge can range from only using the back of the tooth (more conservative) to using a full crown to help support the missing tooth (less conservative).
The choice of which is done again involves the amount of force (grinding) that is placed on the teeth and whether the tooth is in need of a full dental crown for any other reason. If used in the correct situation, with no history of grinding, this type of dental bridge has a higher success rate than bonded dental bridges. This type of design is particularly useful for replacing missing lateral incisors.
Conventional dental bridges are generally what people think of when they hear the word "dental bridges." This type of restoration uses crowns on the teeth next to the empty space that are hooked together to help support the missing tooth.
This type of bridge is also the treatment of choice if the two adjacent teeth need to have crowns for other reasons.
Conventional dental bridges are also one of the most predictable of all the options for replacing missing teeth. The failure rate of conventional dental bridges in the dental literature has a wide range of variation, ranging from 20% over 3 years to 3% over 23 years.
A dental implant is a titanium metal "screw" that is placed directly into the bone in the area of the missing tooth. Once the dental implant is integrated into the bone, it will act as the root of the missing tooth. A dental crown can then be made to fit onto the implant.
By far, a dental implant is considered the most conservative of all the aforementioned procedures regarding the adjacent teeth. On the other hand, it may not seem conservative due to the surgical implant placement.
To be able to place a dental implant in the correct position, two main things need to be addressed. The first is whether there is enough bone to hold the dental implant and the second is whether the roots of the adjacent teeth are tilted and in the way of where the implant needs to go.
To overcome these concerns, you may require either bone grafting to increase the amount of bone or orthodontics (braces) to help move the roots of the adjacent teeth out of the way. Although this seems like a lot of work to do in order to place a dental implant, if the teeth next to the empty space look good and are healthy, a dental implant is the only way to replace the missing tooth predictably without altering your own teeth.
As with the other treatment options like dental bridges, the amount of force placed on your teeth (grinding) can have an effect on the long-term predictability of implants and should be evaluated. The failure rate of the dental implant in the front part of the mouth is currently around 5% at ten years.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD