I’ve had my crowns for awhile now and I think they are getting uglier. The metal seems to be showing near the gumline. They are on my two front teeth. Can they be replaced with porcelain veneers? I am hoping that will take care of the issue with the metal. When I asked me dentist, he told me no. He said my only option is to get the metal crowns redone. He also said they are much stronger than veneers. Is this correct? I feel like I have to have another option.
-Bill in Missouri
Sorry to be the one to give you bad news. But porcelain veneers will not work if you have had crowns on your teeth. When the teeth are prepared for crowns, there is a large portion of the tooth that is removed. Since porcelain veneers only cover the front portion of the tooth, they would provide no protection to the back and sides of the tooth. This would leave the tooth completely susceptible to tooth decay and bacteria.
It is interesting that your dentist seems insistent on porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns when there is an all-porcelain option. This would take care of the aesthetic issue you seem to be having. It is true that metal-based crowns provide increased strength, but it is inevitable that the metal will show up again. Most cosmetic dentists will choose all-porcelain crowns for front teeth. These teeth don’t endure as much force when chewing, compared to back teeth. That said, maybe he was concerned about clenching or grinding your teeth if you have a history of that. Otherwise, porcelain crowns are the most natural-looking, beautiful choice for front teeth.
Any cosmetic dentistry treatment that you have done will end up needing to be replaced. You can expect 10-15 years when they are done correctly. With grinding, clenching, or for those that suffer from TMJ disorder, those gums will recede faster. It’s always important to have the restoration redone at that point to avoid problems from tooth decay.
This post is sponsored by Barrington dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS