Cap My Front Tooth? Never! I would never allow the dentist to put a cap (crown) on my front tooth. Never!”
The above sentiment has been echoed by many of our adult patients over the years. Why does this generation have such a strong aversion to a “cap” or “crown” on their front tooth?
That Ugly Black Line
It all goes back to an era during which dentistry did its best to save a badly damaged front tooth with a cap from “yesteryear.” Most often they were excellent functional replacements which afforded patients the opportunity to keep an otherwise jeopardized front tooth for many decades, if not a lifetime.
Function with Aesthetics
The problem with the older type of crowns was that although they were indeed beautifully crafted (from a clinically functional standpoint), they often had aesthetic drawbacks. The biggest concern of patients receiving that type of crown was the “black line” up at the gum line.
What caused that ugly black line, and what can be done about it, if anything, today? The technical cause for that non‑aesthetic result was a thin band of gold (or other metal) at the very edge of the crown where it met the gum line. Even if a dentist attempted to place that edge far enough up underneath the gum line to hide it, the thin and semi-transparent nature of the edge of gum was no match for the darkness and opacity of the metal understructure of the crown.
Fortunately today we have many phenomenal, advanced techniques which allow us to place undetectable crowns on front teeth.
How Do they Do That?
The answer to “how do they do that” today lies in space-age technology of our modern era’s dental materials. That, combined with a number of improved advance techniques with which we place crowns today.
Included in this wide range of advanced techniques are all-porcelain crowns (requiring no metal substructure at all); porcelain-edged crowns (where the portion near the gum line requires no metal substructure); and other preparation (the way we reshape the badly damaged tooth) techniques.
Any of these (or combinations) give us the ability today to place crowns which literally disappear amongst your natural teeth. They blend in as if they grew there themselves!
Can Anything be Done For my Mom?
Not only are current advanced techniques for natural-appearing front crowns a breakthrough for those needing crowns today, but we are often fortunate to be able to repair the aesthetic damage done in the past by the crowns of an era gone by.
If you or a family member has a crown done long ago, which clearly shows that “black line” at the gum line ask us today about replacing the old crown with the newer styles, to recapture natural beautiful smiles once again.
Dr. Andrea Stevens is a cosmetic and family dentist in practice in Kanata, Ontario. If you have dental questions, you can call her at 613.271.7091.