I enjoy seeing my patients who reside in the Charlotte area. But I am particularly honored when patients travel from afar to seek dental care in our office. This 22 year old patient came to see us from the North Carolina coast.
A fine young man, he wasn’t happy with the space between his two front teeth. Several years ago, he had fractured his left front tooth, needed a root canal and had a large composite bonded filling placed. Over the years, the filling discolored.
While it may seem a simple idea to “close the gap”, cases like this require careful planning and attention to detail.
Widening the teeth to close the gap without considering the length of the teeth would have resulted in the appearance of teeth that looked too wide.
When it comes to the front teeth, the attentive dentist normally considers their dimensions in terms of ratios. For the two front teeth, we normally like for the width to be approximately 75% of the length. If we adhere to this ratio, the teeth will look “normal” in size.
Because of the amount of damage to the patient’s left front tooth, we needed to re-build it and do a porcelain crown. But the other front tooth was essentially whole so we were able to be more conservative by placing a porcelain veneer.
While a veneer is more conservative, it makes it more difficult to match the colors with the crown because of different thicknesses of porcelain.
In this patient’s case, we slightly increased the length of the two teeth but it made a big difference.
As is usual in a case like this and particularly since the patient was traveling from the coast, we used our CEREC computer technology to make the crowns in one visit.
We also customized the color of the crowns using additional colorants to match to the adjacent natural teeth.
The patient loved the final result. The colors blended beautifully and the shapes of the teeth were very natural. Last, the patient was thankful that we were able to minimize his trips to and from the coast.
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