I have had four of my front teeth missing for quite awhile now. I had a removable partial denture combined with a porcelain bridge to fill the missing space. But, as I get older, I want something more permanent. So, I have been researching and talking with my dentist about dental implants for many months. I moved forward and plan on replacing each missing tooth with a dental implant. So, I will have four dental implants and four porcelain crowns for front teeth.
I haven’t been happy with the way my front teeth have looked in the past and I’m nervous about how the end result will look for my dental implants. The bridge looked fake to me. It appeared to sit on top of my gums and I didn’t feel liked it looked natural. I’m also nervous because I have a very large smile and a lot of my gums show when I smile.
It’s almost time for me to go in for the crowns because I have made it through the implant placement. I want to know if there can be special attention given to my gums or to the crowns to make everything look natural. Also, in doing my research it sounds like it would be good to have my other teeth whitened first.
Any input you have about how to proceed would be helpful and put my mind at ease.
– Katherine in Washington
It sounds like you have done your homework and have some legitimate questions.
The short answer is that the aesthetic results of your smile will largely depend on the skill and experience of your dentist.
There are dentists with a mentality of fixing a problem and come at dentistry from a functional mindset. Then, there are a very small percentage (less than 2%) of dentists that not only address the functional component, yet take it a step further and are passionate about creating beautiful results. That small percentage is a cosmetic dentist. If your dental implants are done by a dentist that also cares deeply about appearance-related dentistry, the dental implants can be made to blend in perfectly with your surrounding teeth and gums.
There are some concerns in the information you provided. First, if your gums are an issue, the dentist should have begun talking with you about possible treatment to address this before moving forward with the porcelain crowns on your front teeth. Also, you are absolutely correct in that your surrounding teeth should be whitened before the crowns are permanently placed on the dental implant posts. The color can be matched flawlessly by a dentist that truly understands how to manipulate the color and translucency while creating a seamless look. Since neither of these steps has taken place, it is concerning that your dentist may not be part of the 2% of cosmetic dentists that will be able to provide the beautiful, lifelike results you are seeking.
It sounds like you are moving into the final stages of treatment. And unless you are willing to see another dentist, you may be left with subpar results. You smile will likely look OK. But, you deserve so much more. All that to be said, you shouldn’t be having to ask these questions and you absolutely shouldn’t need to coach your dentist throughout the process. You don’t ever want to push a dentist outside of their comfort zone or explain things to them about treatment. You will end up with fake-looking front teeth.
Implant dentists can provide aesthetically-pleasing results. It is just a question as to whether your dentist will be one of them.
You are in a tough spot. But it’s not too late!
So what do you do now?
First, do not go in and explain that you would like some work done to your gums. The dentist will get in over his head and you will be worse off than when you started. At this point, you may be able to switch dentists. You can’t turn your dentist into a cosmetic dentist if the skill, experience and technical training isn’t there. Spend your time in researching the best cosmetic dentist in your area versus trying to figure out how to deal with your current dentist and giving recommendations.
Hopefully, everything will work out for you. It is a good thing you reached out when you did. It really isn’t too late yet to salvage your investment and your smile.
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.