I had to get a porcelain crown on one of my front teeth after a root canal. I’ve gone back to my dentist several times to get it to match, but had no luck. The first crown was too white, and the one he bonded into my mouth does not match my surrounding teeth. I thought it was OK at first, but it’s causing me stress and a lack of confidence. My dentist is willing to re-do it again, but I worry I’m being too demanding. Should I ask my dentist to try again, or just keep my crown the way it is?
Janelle, from Nebraska
If you are all right with a crown that does not quite match, then keep seeing your current general dentist. However, if you want a crown that will match the rest of your teeth, you’ll have to seek out a dentist with experience in cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry is not a specialty recognized by the ADA, but some dentists have had the additional training in cosmetic and restorative dentistry needed to help you. Finding a cosmetic dentist with the artistry to match your teeth to your crown will be difficult; most general dentists get around this by doing crowns on both your front teeth, so they’ll match perfectly. Any color variations between the front teeth and the crowns will make your crown look fake.
Your general dentist is doing his best, but likely lacks the skills or equipment needed to match your crown to your teeth. Otherwise, he would not have bonded in a tooth that did not match. However, sending crowns back and forth to the dental lab is not uncommon, even if you were seeing a cosmetic dentist. The dentist and lab technician need to be able to communicate clearly about what needs to be done, particularly about the color.
One way to match teeth closely is to use a high-tech camera capable of taking dental photographs. The dentist will hold a standard tooth shade chart next to your teeth and take a photo, which is then sent to the lab. This helps the master ceramist at the lab correctly match your teeth to your crown. If the new crown still doesn’t match, the dentist can do a try-in with the tooth and take another photo for the lab. This process helps everyone involved get the most desirable results.
Unfortunately, your general dentist likely does not have access to this type of equipment. Also, dental schools do not go into great detail when they teach students about color variation and matching; a dentist would need additional training in cosmetic dentistry in order to effectively match shades. For the best results, look for a cosmetic dentist to re-do your crown.
This blog post is brought to you by Colorado Springs cosmetic dentist, Dr. Joseph Rota. Dr. Rota is a general dentist who has won awards for his cosmetic dentistry work.