“One of the most common questions I get from patients is ‘what are those black lines around my teeth?’,” says Dr. Katrine Farag, owner of Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers.
The metal parts contained in some patients’ existing crowns are one of a few things that can cause those lines. These types of crowns are called porcelain fused to metal or PFM crowns; you can actually see the shadow of the dark metal through the white porcelain that covers them.
Crowns are like a cap or cover that is placed over a damaged tooth to help strengthen it. They can also be used to improve the appearance of teeth and are made with a variety of materials.
If you have PFM crowns in your mouth and are not happy with the appearance, Dr. Farag can fix them. She says, “We can get rid of those unattractive lines by replacing the existing PFM crowns with ceramic crowns. They are strong but do not contain metal, and offer a younger, healthier, and more natural look.”
Those unappealing lines can also be caused by decay. “Some patients are under the false impression that just because a tooth is covered with a crown or veneer it is impervious to decay,” explains Dr. Farag. That is not the case.
Crowns can last a lifetime but they can also become loose or even fall out; this is just one of the many reasons why good oral hygiene is so important.
Speaking of hygiene, dental plaque from bacteria can be another cause for black lines, according to the doctor. Fortunately, this issue is a preventable one. Simply brush your teeth on a regular basis and floss daily, especially after meals.
“Another very common cause of black lines between teeth is the recession of gums. This condition can be caused by over brushing, periodontal disease, tooth grinding and shifting of teeth. That dark area you are seeing is the actual root structure,” says Dr. Farag. In these instances, the appearance of lines is often accompanied by tooth sensitivity.
The bottom line according to Dr. Farag, “It is important to make regular visits to ensure that your crowns are maintaining integrity and functioning properly.”