4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
Caprara Jr, H John D.D.S.
202 Inverness Center Dr # 202
Birmingham, AL, 35242-7635
Timothy Brooks D.D.S. DMD P.C
500 Whitesport Dr SW
Huntsville, AL, 35801
Sutton, Donald W D.D.S.
813 Riverbend Dr
Gadsden, AL, 35901-2556
Looney, William B D.D.S.
4700 Misty Ridge Cir
Birmingham, AL, 35235-8665
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
The color, size, and shape of your teeth all have a profound impact on your appearance. While it is often the desire of people to improve the look of their smiles, it should be the goal of aesthetic dentistry, or cosmetic dentistry, to do this while still maintaining a "natural" appearance of the teeth. This often requires addressing one or all of the above-mentioned criteria. How is it that alterations in these three characteristics enhance your smile?
Tooth color is most commonly what people see first. As you get older, your teeth get darker. The reasons for this include normal changes that occur within the tooth and repeated insults from environmental conditions (coffee or tea stains, for example). Generally, then, darker teeth are associated with older age. The easiest way that cosmetic dentistry can correct this is by teeth bleaching. But this alone may not entirely create a natural-looking appearance.
Size and shape also are major factors that define the appearance of teeth. The most common cause of changing tooth size and shape over time is tooth wear; and the most common cause of wear is tooth-to-tooth contact, or grinding. Wear on the edges of the teeth can give the appearance of aging because you do not show as much of your teeth when you smile. Another factor that affects how much of your teeth show when you smile is the loss of skin tone as you age.
This loss of tone causes your face to sag, thereby showing less of your upper teeth and more of your lower teeth. The aesthetic dentistry treatment to enable more teeth to show when you smile will depend on the cause. If the cause is due to wear of the teeth, dental veneers or dental crowns can be used to regain the lost length and fill out the smile. On the other hand, this may not have a significant effect if the cause is due to the loss of skin tone associated with age. If this is the case, plastic surgery may be indicated as part of the treatment.
Wear on teeth also will make the edges of the front teeth very flat. As this occurs, the edges of the front teeth will form a straight line rather than the more youthful appearance when the two front teeth are slightly longer than the teeth next to them. Also, as they wear, the proportion of length to width will be altered. Teeth will start to appear more square in their shape rather than rectangular.
Basically, any treatment that counteracts the above-mentioned appearance changes has the ability to enhance the appearance of your teeth and smile. The aesthetic dentistry treatment can vary from teeth bleaching to dental crowns or dental veneers. Depending on the severity, other forms of treatment such as braces and gum surgery also may be indicated to enhance the appearance and function of your teeth. It is important to remember that all areas need to be addressed. If treatment for teeth that are worn and dark only involves teeth bleaching, the final result will be whiter teeth that are still worn and short. The teeth will not appear natural, as there will be a conflict between white teeth (youthful) and worn teeth (aged) that do not work together. Instead, it is necessary to correct the color, size, and shape to create a more natural appearance.
By Greggory Kinzer, DDS, MSD