Crowns Getting Darker

My daughter had crowns put on about five years ago. They’ve always been fine until this past year and they’ve started getting darker and darker. They are now darker than her surrounding natural teeth. We were under the impression that they would keep their same color. Do you know what is going on?

Brianna from Colorado

Brianna,

Yes, porcelain crowns should stay their same color. My guess is one of two things have happened. First, let me ask if when your daughter had her teeth cleaned about a year ago, did you notice if the hygienist used a power polishing tool called Prophy Jet?  It sprays a mixture of water and sodium bicarbonate on the teeth. Though it gets teeth nice and clean, it destroys the glaze on porcelain. Many dental hygienists don’t realize this. Some will even argue that they’ve used it on crowns before and the crowns looked great when they were done. That is true. The crowns will look fine at first, but the glaze is destroyed so they will start picking up stains.

A second thing that could have occured is a fluoride treatment with acidulated fluoride. Acidulated fluoride will etch the porcelain, and the effects will be similar to the damage with the Prophy Jet.

There isn’t a permanent repair for this, except to replace the crowns. However, your dentist can polish them to make them look better.

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Dr. Randall Burba.