Recently I had the privilege of helping a patient whose front teeth were chipping and becoming thin and worn from grinding. She has a night guard but has a difficult time wearing it, as some people do. The concern was that if the wear continues, her teeth may become extremely short and/or wear through into the nerve in the middle of the tooth, both of which may require extensive work to fix. Also, her back teeth were all crowned, and compared to the crowned teeth her natural teeth appeared somewhat short and darker in color. After a thorough discussion with the patient and her daughter, we decided that crowning the front teeth with a strong ceramic material as well as making her a new night guard immediately after the new crowns were made was the right move. This would attempt to stop the progression of tooth wear/chipping as well as improve the esthetics of the teeth at the same time.
The crowns were made at Barnes Dental Lab by Katy Barnes in Homewood, AL. They were prepared and delivered at my office at St. Vincent’s Hospital, downtown Birmingham, AL. In this case, to make sure the crowns were shaped exactly as the patient would like them to be, we went to the lab with the patient so we all could see them together, and we kept making adjustments until myself, Katy, the patient’s daughter, and (most importantly) the patient was happy.
To the right is a before and after showing the crowns in place. The front teeth had become visibly chipped/worn, and the crowns restored the teeth to full function as well as improved them esthetically.
After 2 weeks with the crowns in place I saw the patient for a follow-up visit, and she (and apparently everyone at her gym) loves her “new teeth”. We are now in the process of making her a new night guard which hopefully will be more comfortable than her previous one and will help reduce the force/stress on her teeth due to nighttime grinding. Crowns can still chip/break and wear the opposing teeth, so it is still important we do everything we can in order to protect her teeth and crowns.
The patient is so happy with her new crowns that she now is interested in crowning her bottom front teeth to match. I advised her to first try and get used to her new night guard before we move forward. I’ll keep you updated in future posts about more of the work we do every day at AdVance Dental.
To see video about how crowns are made, click here.
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