People get dental crowns to minimize damage from bacteria and improve their smiles. Unfortunately, a dark line can develop near the gum line over time, making the person's smile look less than great. Here's why this occurs and what you can do to fix the issue.
Gum Recession Causes Cosmetic Problems
The dark line around at the edge of the gum line is typically caused by a type of dental crown called PFM (porcelain fused to metal). Just as it sounds, metal is added to the back/interior of a porcelain crown to make it stronger and longer lasting. However, the porcelain doesn't completely cover the metal part. Although the dentist may take care to hide the metal portion when installing the crowns, it becomes exposed as the gums recede over time.
Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons, even in people with healthy mouths. While it's possible to slow down the process with good oral care habits, eventually you will have to deal with the exposure of the metal portion of your crowns at some point.
Two Possible Fixes
There are a couple of ways this problem can be fixed. The first option is to replace the PFM crowns with ones made completely from porcelain. Porcelain crowns are typically crafted in material that closely matches the color of your natural teeth, so you generally won't have dark lines appearing at the edges of your gum line when your gums recede again.
Though this is probably the best option, it does come with a cost. Not only do you have to pay for the original crown to be removed, you'll need to pay for the new ones. Porcelain crowns can cost anywhere from $800 to $3,000 per tooth. Since the procedure is purely cosmetic, your dental insurance may not cover it, so you'll have to pay for the change out of your own pocket.
Another treatment option is to undergo gum contouring surgery. This procedure involves surgically reshaping your gums so they cover the exposed metal. Based on how bad the recession is, you may need to have a tissue transplant to provide the doctor with more material to work with.
Gum contouring costs between $300 and $3,000, depending on the extent of the work that needs to be done. It may be cheaper than having multiple PFM crowns replaced with porcelain ones. However, the result may only last a few years. Again, this is a cosmetic procedure, so insurance will not cover it.
There may be other options available for dealing with black lines near the gums. Contact a cosmetic dentist, like Hyten David W DMD, for more information about and help with this issue.