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I want to replace one of my two crowns at the front due to the gap between the gum and the crown.  I understand the gap is caused by shrinkage of the gum.  What guarantee is there of a perfect match if I have it replaced without replacing the other perfectly good crown.

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Asked on 13/12/2005 12:00 am
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If the original prescription of colour still exists and the lab that made it is still manufacturing and the same dentist is being used, then there is a good chance that all can be matched again precisely.  If not, with the latest technology, this problem can be easily overcome using colour measurement guns and digital photography.


If it is an old crown, you should weigh up the pros and cons of replacing other old crowns in your mouth at the same time. The pros being you get a much better colour match.  This is a good opportunity to check for decay under old crowns, therefore ensuring longevity of your root stumps and root canals.


If starting again, technology has moved on and much more aesthetic and realistic results are achievable, as materials have improved.  The concept of colour management can also play a part for long-term colour stability within the whole of the oral environment.  The cons are this all costs much more money.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 14/06/2008 12:00 am
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Thanks for your question. Whole text-books have been written on the subject. There are digital machines which measure the average colour of teeth, and will give a technician a prescription for matching porcelains, but the best results are achieved by letting the patient visit the technician for colour matching, or by taking a digital photograph with a graded colour tab held next to the teeth. Either of these options will allow the technician to build in the subtle nuances that make good crowns look like natural teeth. There are other aspects to shade matching such as the ambient light and the hydration of the teeth when photographing them, but a good technician will be well aware of these matters and will be working with good dentists able to take excellent impressions which are the pre-requisite for great fitting crowns (the reason for the remake in the first place).

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 14/06/2008 12:00 am
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Thanks for your question. Whole text-books have been written on the subject. There are digital machines which measure the average colour of teeth, and will give a technician a prescription for matching porcelains, but the best results are achieved by letting the patient visit the technician for colour matching, or by taking a digital photograph with a graded colour tab held next to the teeth. Either of these options will allow the technician to build in the subtle nuances that make good crowns look like natural teeth. There are other aspects to shade matching such as the ambient light and the hydration of the teeth when photographing them, but a good technician will be well aware of these matters.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 09/05/2006 12:00 am
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There can be 100% guarantee if you replace both crowns.


There can be no guarantee if you try to match one new to one old crown as the porcelain manufacture process is a manual technique that is different for every technician, and varies even then, with different stages of colours and depths of colour being added in stages and temperature variations in the ovens that fire the porcelain layers as the crown is built up. The porcelains available to the technicians have better properties to give improved aesthetic results compared to even two years ago, and look different to older porcelains which were more opaque and dull.


If you thought matching paint on a wall in your house was difficult when your child drew crayon over it a year after you decorated? It is ten times harder to colour match porcelain.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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The solution to your question is to seek help from the right team. The dentist works very closely with his technician to achieve the desired result and this may well involve seeing the technician also, to perfect the match until everyone is satisfied.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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A great result would depend on the quality of the ceramist being used.  It would depend on the existing colour match to your own teeth and crowns.  Also your overall smile would need to be taken into account.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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Difficult question!  The most difficult teeth to match are the two front teeth as your eye constantly scans between the two. Even in this most difficult match there are two ways of getting a 95%+ match. One is for you to see the technician and have the shade matched. If he made the original crowns he will even be able to match the porcelains.  Secondly, we can send a digital photograph of your teeth with a matching shade placed next to them, so that the technician can copy the variations within your teeth.
However, if you are insistent on the new crown matching an existent crown to the highest degree, have them both done. After all, your teeth have probably darkened since you had the originals done, or you may want to whiten your natural teeth. You'll make an old technician very happy.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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There can be no guarantee without replacing both, however a good technician can make a very good copy provided that the crowns are fairly simple or, alternatively, if the technician sees the patient and makes the crown of the same materials as the one that is to be matched. The problem is that in the same way as matching natural teeth it is achievable sometimes but may be less good in some types of light - natural, flourescent, tungsten etc. This effect of change in different light is known as metamerism and needs to be considered for some patients more than others depending on their jobs or lifestyle.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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I would contact 'TJ' Nicholas who set up this site and ask him to recommend a dentist.  He sees all our work and can advise accordingly.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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There is no guarantee since each crown is hand made.  The only perfect match would be to replace both crowns.  However, if the crowns are of good quality porcelain, a very close match can be achieved.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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None ;  although it is possible,  you rely on great shade taking skills and excellent communication with the laboratory.  Consider going to the lab making  the crown and letting the technician take the shade for you.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 08/05/2006 12:00 am
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If the original prescription of colour still exists and the lab that made it is still manufacturing and the same dentist is being used, then there is a good chance that all can be matched again precisely.  If not, with the latest technology, this problem can be easily overcome using colour measurement guns and digital photography.


If it is an old crown, you should weigh up the pros and cons of replacing other old crowns in your mouth at the same time. The pros being you get a much better colour match.  This is a good opportunity to check for decay under old crowns, therefore ensuring longevity of your root stumps and root canals.


If starting again, technology has moved on and much more aesthetic and realistic results are achievable, as materials have improved.  The concept of colour management can also play a part for long-term colour stability within the whole of the oral environment.  The cons are this all costs much more money.

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Posted by Dental Professional (Questions: 0, Answers: 1475)
Answered on 13/12/2005 12:00 am