I have crowns on my center front teeth and the teeth immediately next to them. The crowns are about 3 years old. I fell recently, and two of the crowns have small chips on them, but the silver metal is showing. I scheduled an emergency appointment with my dentist, and he looked at the crowns and my teeth, said there was no apparent trauma, and ask me to schedule an appointment to see if he can fix the crowns. E When I returned to the office, my dentist took a quick look at the crowns and said that he needs to replace them. I went to my sister’s dentist, and his response was basically the same – replace the crowns. The crowns are in good shape other than the chips. Do they have to be replaced, or are these dentists trying to make money? – Thanks. Garland from NM
The dentists you spoke with likely want to replace your crowns because they have limited skill in concealing with composite bonding and concealing the metal. But, understandably, a dentist might not have the time to complete the work during an emergency appointment that worked you into the schedule.
A dentist with advanced training in aesthetics and bonding technology can restore your crowns with a process like this:
- Etch the metal with a small sandblaster and treat it with a metal bonding agent
- Etch the broken edges of porcelain with a sandblaster or hydrofluoric acid
- Treat the porcelain with a silane coupling agent
- Coat the metal with an opaquer
- Blend composite to match the color and luster of the porcelain and bond it to the crowns
It’s rare for a dentist who cares about your smile’s aesthetics to place porcelain-fused-to-metal-crowns on front teeth. If your current dentist placed the crowns, it’s unlikely that he or she is skilled with ceramics and getting natural-looking results.
Although a cosmetic dentist will seamlessly restore your crowns, as they age and need to be replaced, consider received all-ceramic crowns for natural-looking results that will enhance your smile.
Look for two cosmetic dentists in your area who have post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry. You can schedule consultations with them to examine your crowns and discuss your options.
Joseph Rota, DDS, an award-winning Colorado Springs cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.