I had a single porcelain veneer done in order to repair a sizable chip on one of my front teeth. Initially, it looked very good and was an exact match for the surrounding teeth- nobody could tell I’d had dental work done. It’s been about two years now and I’m starting to see a dark line near the top of the porcelain veneer- right by my gums. I’m not sure if it’s cause for concern, but it certainly makes me feel self-conscious when I smile. I’m wondering what could be causing this and if there’s an easy fix. — Liz
It doesn’t sound like you have a porcelain veneer. Rather, you probably have a porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown instead. Porcelain veneers are thin layers of porcelain that are added to the front of a tooth. They’re mostly used for cosmetic reasons, such as closing gaps, hiding discoloration, and correcting small chips. PFM crowns, on the other hand, totally surround a tooth on all sides. They reinforce a tooth when a large piece of it is missing or lost to decay.
PFMs will start to show a sliver of metal as the years go by and your gums start to recede. However, two years is a really short time frame for that to happen in, unless there are unique circumstances, such as gum disease or hard brushing. The underlying cause for it will need to be addressed, so that when you have it redone, the new one doesn’t have the same issue.
If you’re totally certain this is a porcelain veneer, it could be that it wasn’t designed well. These types of restorations should sit flush with the natural tooth, but sometimes unskilled dentists won’t ensure they’re smooth. In this case, it would have a ledge that bacteria and gunk can collect on. Brushing can help, but the space is usually so tiny that it’s hard to get clean with a toothbrush. If unaddressed, this type of thing will eventually lead to decay. Poor bonding can also allow things to slip between the restoration and tooth. Either could explain a dark spot.
Your best bet is to have this addressed by a dentist in person; perhaps by two. This way, you can find out if it was a technique error for certain. If it has a ledge or poor bonding that’s causing the problem, the dentist who made it should be willing to fix it for you, as it would be his error. If he won’t make things right, have another dentist do the work, so you can be certain it’s done correctly this time around.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.