My natural teeth are quite white, so I asked my dentist for BL1 crowns when I found out that I needed crowns. The crowns are the wrong shade and turning yellow, although I got them in early May. I drink a cup or two of coffee or tea daily, and they make the crowns even darker. I am looking for another dentist and hope you can advise me on what to expect or what another dentist might say is the problem. Thanks. Yadi from Brooklyn
Porcelain crowns with the glaze intact will not attract stains or discolor. Sometimes a patient thinks they got porcelain crowns or veneers when the dentist placed cheap resin on their teeth instead.
If the glaze breaks your crowns, that could also cause them to attract stains. Hydrofluoric acid in acidulated fluoride in the dental office can etch the glaze away and leave your crowns with a rough, porous surface. Also, power polishing equipment in the dental office can damage the glaze on dental crowns. Still, your crowns were not as white as you wanted, and we discuss what may have happened.
When Your Dental Crowns Are Not as White as You Wanted
Requesting BL1 shade for your dental crowns produces whiteness beyond any shade of natural teeth. Your dentist may hesitate to give you super-white dental crowns. Dental ceramists introduced the Ivoclar shade guide on this page in the early 90s after teeth bleaching became popular and people wanted super white teeth. Only teeth bleaching could get your natural teeth to the BL1 shade. A2 is the most common shade of adult teeth.
Whitening your natural teeth before you get porcelain crowns allows a dentist to see how white your teeth could get. Most cosmetic dentists would only give you a BL1 shade for dental crowns if you had bleached your teeth to that shade. Further, an experienced cosmetic dentist would address the teeth behind your front six teeth to avoid a glaring color mismatch. If you insist on crowns lighter than your natural teeth could get, the dentist may recommend porcelain veneers on the teeth that show when you smile. Otherwise, your crowns would look fake, and the dentist’s commitment to aesthetics would cause them to advise you to see another dentist. We wish your dentist had been upfront about the BL1 shade and helped you anticipate what to expect.
See the picture below for A2 (the most common natural shade) versus BL1 after bleaching. Can you see why a dentist would want to see if BL1 crowns were too white for your surrounding natural teeth even after teeth bleaching?
Getting a Second Opinion for Dental Crowns on Front Teeth
We recommend asking for recommendations or searching online for an expert cosmetic dentist, preferably an accredited dentist. Look at dentists’ websites for a smile gallery of patients’ before and after pictures. Look for dental crown cases and pictures that show the dentist’s artistry. Your crown color and smile design are fundamental to your smile makeover. Schedule at least two consultations to compare the dentist’s credentials, experience, and ability to give you crowns that look real, do not turn yellow, and complement your smile.
Dr. Steven Brooksher, a Baton Rouge accredited cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.