A Crown at the Front of Your Teeth
Anterior crowns are crowns at the front of the mouth. They require special considerations in comparison to posterior (back) crowns, as esthetics and cosmetics are of the upmost importance in the front of your smile.
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 shade of each tooth so that they blend in nicely with the surrounding teeth.
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 are translucent and subtly reflect light very similarly to a natural tooth. Additionally, if the gumline were to pull away from the tooth 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 cosmetically appealing and are shade matched precisely to your teeth, but they can look 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 PFM crowns, but today they are very close in strength. PFM is still the stronger of the two crown material options, however, 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.
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 — they are very similar to veneers but stronger and longer lasting for a similar investment.
It’s 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 do so before the final shade match is done on an anterior crown. This ensures the crown most closely matches your new tooth shade.
When properly done, an anterior crown should blend in nicely with the surrounding teeth. Sometimes there can be subtle differences between a tooth made in porcelain and a natural tooth, so some patients elect to do anterior crowns on a group of teeth (for example the front two, four, or six teeth) for a more 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.