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One tooth on the bridge looks darker

I have a 3 tooth bridge placed on front teeth. Material used was all porcelain. The dark pontic shows through the crown on one tooth therefore gives a gray appearance to that tooth. It looks awful. Fortunately bridge was placed w/ temporary cement to see how I like it. Why is the dark shadow showing through & what can be done to correct it?
– Liz from Tennessee

You are lucky that your dentist is giving you this “test drive” with your new dental bridge, to make sure it looks good.

My advice to you is to make sure that you actually SEE the dental bridge looking the way you want it before you give permission for it to be permanently cemented. Don’t rely on assurances like “Oh, it will look different once we actually put it on permanently.” No good cosmetic dentist will leave an appearance flaw like what your describing to chance, but will insist himself or herself to see it, in the mouth, looking the way it is supposed to look.

I can’t tell you what is causing your tooth to look darker, partly because I am uncertain what you are saying. The pontic is the false tooth, so I don’t know what you mean by the “dark pontic showing through the tooth.” The pontic shouldn’t be dark. If it is, it’s a simple matter of getting the correct shade on the pontic. But your question suggests that it’s something more complicated than that. So my advice is pretty straightforward. Be sure you see it looking good with your own eyes before you let them put it on. I have heard too many sad stories from patients who were assured by their dentist that this bridge or these veneers or crowns would certainly look better once they were actually put on. It doesn’t work that way.

My guess is that the bridge needs to be sent back to the lab. If I were your dentist, I would take a close-up photograph of the way it looks in the mouth and send that back with the bridge to the ceramist. The ceramist may need to alter either the color or the opacity of the porcelain to adjust to the in-the-mouth conditions.

This blog sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. David Newkirk.