A dental crown is usually chosen as the restoration for a tooth after it has undergone a root canal procedure. Root canal therapy involves removing the soft tissues in a tooth’s pulp chamber to prevent or treat infections.Root canals enable dentists to save extremely damaged or infected teeth. The procedure has a high success rate,…
Can You Notice Dental Crowns on Front Teeth?
It is possible to use dental crowns to restore teeth that have become damaged beyond repair, whether due to decay or trauma. A dentist may recommend this common type of treatment for a tooth that is:
- Seriously chipped
- Severely cracked or broken
- Weakened from numerous cavities or fillings
While the tooth can have extensive damage, it must still have a healthy root to support the new tooth covering. Otherwise, an extraction may be necessary instead.
Crowns can be used to treat teeth in either the front or the back of the mouth. Understandably, patients often have concerns about crowns in the front of the mouth that are visible when they smile. For example, they frequently want to know if other people will be able to notice that a front tooth is crowned.
For the most part, the answer is no. Dentists know that patients are concerned about whether their teeth look natural when they smile and offer crowns in materials that look as natural as possible for the front teeth. The color of your crowns compared to your other teeth can also affect how natural they look.
Dental crowns made solely of metal, such as nickel, gold, or chromium, are strong and durable. They also require less material to be removed from the tooth to place the crown, as they are sturdier and thus thinner than crowns of other materials. However, all-metal crowns are usually used only for the back teeth, which are less visible. For the front teeth, your dentist may recommend crowns made of one of the following tooth-colored materials.
Porcelain fused to metal
With this type of crown, the interior is made of a metal alloy while the exterior is made of tooth-colored porcelain. This offers all the advantages of metal crowns with a more natural appearance. However, if the gums recede, some of the metal core may be visible as a dark line at the base of the tooth. Also, some people believe that PFM crowns look less realistic because they are more opaque.
The ceramic material used to make dental crowns is usually porcelain, though they can also be made of other types of ceramics, such as zirconia. The main difference between this type of crown and a PFM is that ceramic crowns contain no metal at all. Ceramic crowns reflect light in a manner similar to tooth enamel, giving a more natural appearance. As a trade-off, they are not quite as strong as PFM or all-metal crowns and may cost more.
The color of your crowns may also affect how natural they look. Porcelain or ceramic crowns are somewhat resistant to staining but also cannot be whitened. Therefore, if you eat foods that can stain your teeth, the ones adjacent to the crowns may darken, causing the crowns to stand out. Conversely, if you match the shade of the crown material to your natural teeth and then get whitening, the crowns may look dark by comparison. If you are interested in teeth whitening on a long-term basis, dentists recommend that you have this done before getting your crowns so you can match their color to the lighter shade.
Tips for maintaining a crown's appearance
A well-placed dental crown can give you a more beautiful smile and last for several years. However, proper care is essential to keep this dental work looking good long term. Even though crowns are far less likely to stain than natural teeth, consuming certain products on a routine basis can cause discolorations. Red wine, coffee, and tobacco products can all change the original shade of the crown, giving it a less natural appearance over time.
Damage to the surface of the crown can also affect its overall look. For example, a porcelain crown can be scratched if you use highly abrasive toothpaste on a daily basis. Whitening toothpaste is one of the worst offenders because it often contains baking soda or charcoal. The tiny scratches that are left behind can still collect food particles and will eventually lead to staining. Choose your diet wisely, brush your teeth at least twice a day, and use a gentle technique with non-abrasive toothpaste.
The material and color that you choose for your dental crowns affect how natural they look in both the short and long term. For many patients, this is an important consideration when getting crowns on the front teeth.
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