Black line on a tooth? What it really is and what can be done about it

Drs. Mandy and Robert Shearer agree they have a common question often asked by their patients: What is this black line on my tooth around my crown? If you're concerned that something is amiss, chances are it's nothing to be too concerned about and just the composition of the crown.

"It's generally the metal part of a crown that is showing due to gum recession," Dr. Mandy shared. "Unfortunately, gum recession happens to a lot of people and is common with aging."

Like most dental products and procedures, there are some options when it comes to crowns: some are porcelain fused to metal with a thin inner shell encased by porcelain. The metal gives the crown its strength, and the porcelain gives the tooth a more natural look. However, the con to these types of crowns is that the thin metal lining can become visible, resulting in this mysterious black line.

In the office of Soddy Daisy Smiles, the team instead makes white porcelain crowns that do not have the metal substructure underneath it. So, when patients do experience gum recession, the line is white and not as noticeable, Dr. Mandy noted. These types of crowns are extremely durable and resistant to stains. They generally last for 10 years or longer before replacement becomes necessary, and patients can expect especially good results across the board in terms of look and performance.

However, there could still be other reasons for those black lines appearing, so it's very important you see a dentist at the first sign to get the proper diagnosis and treatment.

"If someone does have a black line, it is often times just the metal that is now visible, but sometimes it can be a cavity forming," Dr. Robert added. "So it is important to have a dentist check to make sure the black line is ok."

If your black line in question is due to gum recession or other oral health problems, a dentist can discuss treatment options with you, and then once things are stabilize, you can focus on improving the look of your teeth and achieving the smile you really want.

When it comes to getting a crown, some patients are understandably hesitant either due to time and recovery or the general procedure itself. However, Soddy Daisy Smiles also offers an alternative that might just put your mind at ease.

"Crowns are necessary when a tooth is generally broken down and fillings won't solve the problem," Dr. Robert Shearer said. "If a tooth is cracked, a crown holds the tooth together to seal the cracks so the damage doesn't get worse."

Crown fabrication traditionally takes place in a dental laboratory, but with a new machine purchased by Soddy Daisy Smiles, there's now a much more convenient alternative: same-day crowns made in the dental office.

When a tooth has a cavity, crack or fracture that involves half the width of the tooth or more, it needs to be covered with a crown. This is because the remaining tooth around the large filling is so weak that it is prone to fracture.

"A crown can sometimes take two or three appointments, but at our office, we can make most crowns same day, which is easier and more convenient for our patients," Dr. Robert added. "Our office has an in-office machine called Cerec, which allows us to create natural-looking ceramic crowns, often in a single visit. We use a digital camera to take an optical impression of the damaged tooth, design the appropriate restoration using CAD software and mill tooth-colored restorations, which can eliminate the need for a temporary and return visit."

Cerec by Sirona Dental Systems, or Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics, is the world's only system for the fabrication of all ceramic dental restorations in one office visit. Patients can be in and out in a single visit with a permanent, all ceramic crown, onlay or veneer that looks and feels like a real tooth. This means fewer injections, less drilling, and less time out of your hectic schedule for dental care.

The five step process is quick and helps get the job done without any issues. It begins with preparation where the dentist preps the tooth to be repaired for the prosthesis by removing any decay or damaged tissue. Step two is scanning the teeth to make a full three-dimensional model of the mouth.

"No uncomfortable molding paste impressions anymore, which a lot of people are very happy to hear," Dr. Mandy shared.

To learn more crowns, contact the team at Soddy Daisy Smiles, or schedule a consultation at 423-332-5275.