What's That Dark Line at the Base of Your Dental Crown?

Have you ever noticed the dental crowns in a person's mouth? Probably not, unless the person happened to point them out. A dental crown is manufactured to be a replica of the tooth it's covering — essentially making the restoration seamless. It could be said that the hallmark of good dental work is when only the dentist and their patient know about it, and this is certainly true when it comes to dental crowns. However, you might one day face a scenario when the dental crowns in your mouth become very obvious indeed.

Your Individual Needs

When a dental crown is fabricated and fitted, a dentist will chose the best material for that patient's individual needs. While crowns are commonly made of porcelain or ceramic, these materials are not the only option. Although it won't happen for a number of years, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns may eventually become too conspicuous.

The Metal Frame

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns are when a porcelain shell is fitted over a metal frame. Like natural teeth, the porcelain of a dental crown can erode, which results in the porcelain becoming thinner. When there's a metal frame underneath the porcelain, this metal can become visible. This makes it appear as though you have a dark line at the margin of the crown. While the crown itself is still functional (as in it works perfectly well as a dental restoration), the look of your smile has undeniably been compromised.

A New Crown

It's not possible for a dentist to conceal this metal frame. It can't be covered with the application of a dental cement, nor can it be recoloured. Replacement is the only way to correct this aesthetic concern, and this involves the removal of the crown. It will be replaced with a new crown made entirely of porcelain or ceramic. The absence of a metal frame means that the issue will not repeat itself.

Other Contributing Factors

Although crown replacement is practically a certainty, your dentist will take the opportunity to look for any specific reasons why the crown has become conspicuous. In many cases, this is simply the inevitable passage of time and the wear and tear the crown has been subjected to over the years. However, the metal frame at the crown's margin may have become more prominent due to gum recession, which is often linked to periodontal disease, or even brushing your teeth too vigorously. If gum recession is suspected, your dentist will be able to treat the issue that has led to this recession.

Although they're designed with longevity in mind, dental crowns will eventually need to be replaced, and this can happen a little sooner when you have a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown.

Contact a dentist who offers dental crowns in your area to learn more.