A Crown at the Front of Your Teeth
Anterior crowns are a crown at the front of the mouth. Anterior crowns require special considerations in comparison to posterior (back) crowns as there are different forces at play in different areas of the mouth. Esthetics and cosmetics are of the upmost importance in the front of the mouth.
Natural front teeth often exhibit many different shades that vary from person to person. At Madison Family Dental, we custom match all of our crowns to the exact shades of each tooth so that they blend in nicely with the surrounding teeth. Shade is just one component of the final esthetic result for an anterior crown. The material also makes a difference in the final look.
Anterior crowns are made from either porcelain or porcelain fused to a metal core. All-porcelain crowns are the most natural looking option because they subtly reflect light very similarly to a natural tooth, are translucent (also similar to natural teeth), and give a very natural, cosmetic result. Additionally, if the gumline were to pull away from the tooth with time, as it sometimes can with time and aging, the edge of the all-porcelain crown will be less noticeable than it would be with a porcelain-fused-to-metal crown, or PFM, which can show a small black line where the porcelain meets the metal portion. PFM crowns are still quite cosmetically appealing and are shade matched precisely to your teeth, but they can look slightly more matte in appearance because light won’t shine through the metal core like it would a real tooth. At one time, porcelain crowns were significantly more fragile than a PFM crown, but today they are very close in strength. However, PFM is still the stronger of the two crown material options, so if you have a very tight bite or a history of teeth clenching or grinding, your dentist may recommend a PFM anterior crown over an all-porcelain crown for the PFM’s strength.
Anterior crowns are done for a variety of reasons, including large fillings/cavities, deep fillings/cavities, cracks in teeth, large chips in a front tooth, or a tooth that has undergone a root canal. Anterior crowns are also used for cosmetic purposes to improve the shape or shade of the front teeth, for they are very similar to veneers but stronger and can be longer lasting than a veneer for a similar investment. It is important to remember that a crown will not whiten as natural teeth would, so if you are thinking of whitening it is always best to whiten before the final shade match is done on an anterior crown. This ensures the crown most closely matches your new tooth shade after whitening.
An anterior crown, when properly done, should blend in nicely with the surrounding teeth. Sometimes there can be very subtle differences between a tooth made in porcelain and a natural tooth. Because of this some patients will elect to do anterior crowns on a group of teeth (for example the front two, four, or six teeth) for a more natural looking and uniform result.
Before and After
This young man had small lateral incisors, also known as peg laterals. He had braces on for a few years and recently had them removed. He came to our office wanting his teeth to finally look “normal”. We recommended crowns on his teeth due to the large space that needed to be filled in. The patient was extremely happy with the final result and was ready to head off to college.