I broke a tooth and need to have it crowned, but my dentist said that my teeth are whiter than any of the shades on the shade guide. I do whiten my teeth at another practice. I go to my regular dentist for general dental care and another dentist, who is a cosmetic specialist, for my cosmetic work. What do I do? Can the cosmetic specialist whiten the crown?
Dear Mary Bell,
Your general dentist is way behind on the developments in his field; like decades behind. The old shade guide (pictured above), used to be sufficient and could match just about any tooth. Then, in the 1990’s more and more patients started whitening their teeth. Now dentists were seeing an influx of patients whose teeth were whiter than the shade guides. That is because professional teeth whitening can do more than remove stains. It also whitens the natural pigment of your tooth.
To accommodate patients with these whiter teeth, the shade guides were updated. Obviously, your dentist is not aware of this. Above is one example of these newer shade guides. Most dentists have these attachments now. I am certain a dentist that has kept up with the changes in their field will be able to give you a dental crown that matches the white color of your teeth.
It’s time for you to find a new dentist. The best dentists will go beyond the minimum required continuing education hours and are continually increasing their skills and offering new services. That is the type of dentist you want.
One thing I do want you to be aware of as you are choosing your new dentist. Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty. That means any general dentist can call themselves a cosmetic dentist. While almost any dentist can do teeth whitening and it doesn’t require that much training, if you decide in the future to get a more advanced procedure, such as a smile makeover with porcelain veneers, you will want to make sure they have significant post-doctoral training. I would only do that with a dentist who is AACD accredited.
As to your crown, go to the dentist who did your teeth whitening. I’m sure he has the updated guide.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.