4146 Carmichael Road, Suite A
Montgomery, AL 36106
4700 Misty Ridge Cir
Birmingham, AL, 35235-8665
Denton, Jonathan B D.D.S.
1320 Stratford Rd Se # A
Decatur, AL, 35601-6028
Todd Reeves D.D.S. DMD P.C
111 Village St
Birmingham, AL, 35242
Hunter, Schuyler F D.D.S.
2006 Franklin St Se # 209
Huntsville, AL, 35801-4537
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
In most cosmetic dentistry practices, good health and sound oral function are their primary goals. But these days, both can be achieved with a third factor in mind, good looks.
Good looks are all around us. In consumer magazines, TV, media, politics, and business. Both men and women are flashing bright, near perfect smiles. It's a pleasure to see. We're not all born that way, and they probably weren't either. Dental makeovers have contributed to a large part of the self-esteem of models, movie stars, and recently, the grocery clerk or the grandmother next door, who seek cosmetic dental care.
Surprisingly, most tooth restoration procedures are fairly conservative. That is, removal of healthy enamel is kept to a minimum, or dispensed with altogether. Teeth bleaching, tooth bonding and contouring are quick, easy, and fairly inexpensive. Porcelain veneers lend new form and youthfulness to front teeth. Tooth-colored fillings can replace discolored amalgams. A new denture can restore a more youthful appearance. The choices are yours.
Notice the people you know who are proud of their teeth. They smile more often. Great teeth build self-confidence. Most people respond more readily to an attractive smile in a very positive way. The psychology is simple, the impact great.
We are lucky to have new materials and techniques that make a beautiful smile within everyone's reach. Take advantage of cosmetic dentistry, for yourself and the people around you.
Give your cosmetic dentist a call today to find out how your smile can benefit from today's technical innovations.