I’m starting to notice something gray at the top of my crowns. They’re front teeth so it’s pretty embarrassing. Could I replace them with porcelain veneers– no metal at all? That way I won’t have to deal with this problem again. I talked to my dentist about it, but he told me he would only do metal crowns because they’re stronger. Is he right or are there alternatives he isn’t telling me about?
Chrissy – Mississippi
Unfortunately, porcelain veneers are not an option. When teeth are prepared for a crown, the dentist has to remove structure all the way around the tooth. Porcelain veneers only cover the front of the tooth, which would leave the back of your tooth totally unprotected and vulnerable.
With that said, it’s not your only option. You could have all-porcelain crowns put on, especially on the anterior (front) teeth. Most dentists will gladly do a metal-free crown, especially on an anterior tooth. Generally speaking, they don’t receive the same repetitive force that back teeth. Perhaps if you grind or clench your teeth, he was concerned about the longevity of the restorations, though it’s difficult to say.
It’s also worth noting that no restoration lasts forever. You’ll likely need to have any work you have done now replaced in 10-15 years. As you age, or if your gums don’t receive proper care, they’ll start to recede, exposing the margin again. When this happens, it’s important to have the restoration redone, to avoid getting decay.
Your best bet is to have a consultation with a dentist who does a lot of cosmetic work. He’ll be able to go over what options are available to provide you with the aesthetics you want, and the protection your tooth needs.
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