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Why Are the Top of My Porcelain Veneers Dark?

I had a porcelain veneer placed on a tooth that had a large chip. It looked great when I got it about six months ago, but recently it’s become dark at the top, near the gumline. I don’t know if it means there’s a problem, but it makes me embarrassed to smile. Can anything be done about it?

Stanley L. – Burbank, CA


There are three possibilities that come to mind, all of which are the fault of your dentist, so he (or she) should repair it without charge.

1. You didn’t actually get a porcelain veneer, but a porcelain fused to metal crown. Those are prone to developing a gray line at the gumline, but that doesn’t usually happen in just six months. If you were told you were getting a veneer and received a crown instead, that’s a problem. There’s no way to replace a crown with a veneer, because of the amount of tooth structure removed with crowns. It will need to be replaced with another crown. Just make sure when your dentist replaces it, they use an all-porcelain crown. Those do not develop a gray line.

2. Another option is the veneer wasn’t smoothed out enough to be perfectly flush with the gumline. The space is so tiny it’s difficult to get clean with a toothbrush. It will collect bacteria and develop decay.

3. Finally, it’s possible the bonding was flawed. This allows food and other things to get between the veneer and the tooth. Again, in addition to creating a dark spot it will lead to decay.

Go see your dentist. They should make this right. It will require replacing the work done.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Newkirk.