I asked my long-time dentist to replace the old bonding on my tetracycline-stained teeth. My dentist convinced me that I would like the results if he removed the bonding, whitened my teeth, and placed crowns on my six front teeth. He explained that crowns are a better option because they last long and would help with my gummy smile. I listened to my dentist without knowing what was involved with crowns. Before the procedure, my dentist told me that he would have to grind my teeth a little, but my teeth looked like pegs when he finished.
My crowns look big and pasty, and in fluorescent light, you can see undertones of gray. Although my dentist said he would get the lab to correct it free of charge, the only thing different about my crown is that they look a little less gray. I got crowns at his recommendation, and he messed up my teeth! Now that I see what crowns did to my teeth, I prefer dental bonding, but I guess it is too late now. Is there anything a dentist can do with the crowns to make them look less bright and pasty? – Thank you. Bianca from RI
We are sorry to hear about your experience. No doubt, you trusted your dentist because you are a long-time patient.
We will review your dentist’s mistakes to help you understand how selective you must be before choosing another dentist—which we highly recommend.
Pasty-Looking Dental Crowns
Your dental crowns look pasty or chalky because your dentist does not understand how to manipulate porcelain for natural-looking translucence.
Based on your description, Bianca, at least three things went wrong:
- Aggressive treatment – Your dentist recommended porcelain crowns because he was uncomfortable with porcelain veneers—a more conservative treatment than crowns. Porcelain veneers can last up to 20 years and are a beautiful alternative to dental bonding.
- Limiting treatment to six teeth – At least eight front teeth—sometimes ten to twelve—show when you smile. Unfortunately, your dentist’s recommendation to treat only six teeth leaves untreated teeth exposed. And it makes it evident that you have dental crowns.
- Not enough coverage – When a dentist does not understand the color issues related to tetracycline stains, crowns or veneers will not hide the stains. The dark color will show through. And it seems that your dentist’s attempt to lighten your teeth by bleaching them did not work at all.
Schedule a Cosmetic Dentistry Consultation
Tetracycline stains are challenging for dentists to conceal. It takes advanced cosmetic dentistry training and experience to hide the stains and keep crowns or veneers looking natural.
We recommend that you find an accredited cosmetic dentist to examine your crowns. Unfortunately, you will need new crowns to get natural-looking results. After you see the cosmetic dentist, try asking your current dentist for a partial refund at least.
Michael Szarek, DMD, an accredited cosmetic dentist in Lowell, MA, sponsors this post.