Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

July 11, 2019

My porcelain crowns are turning yellow

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Dr. Hall,
I have six porcelain crowns in the upper front. They are six months old and are turning yellow. I don’t smoke or drink any soda. I drink a cup of coffee every morning and water the rest of the day. I brush at least twice a day. They were beautiful when I first got them. I am super disappointed and don’t know what to do. Please help.
– Tonya from Ohio
Something is definitely wrong, and you need a second opinion about your case from an expert cosmetic dentist. Find someone from our list or ask around to find someone. You may want to check an earlier post in which I include some tips about how to ask for a second opinion. Porcelain is extremely stain-resistant, even more so than natural teeth, and neither smoking nor heavy coffee drinking will discolor it.
I’ll give you a couple of possibilities of what could be wrong, and hopefully an expert cosmetic dentist looking at your crowns can tell you which it is.

•You say the crowns are six months old. That would give you time to have had another checkup and cleaning. The hygienist cleaning your teeth could have damaged the surface of the crowns. There are two things he or she could have done to damage that surface. One would be by using a power cleaning instrument such as a Prophy Jet, which blasts sodium bicarbonate on your teeth to get them extra clean. This will remove the glaze of the porcelain leaving them vulnerable to stain. Another would be giving you a fluoride treatment with acidulated fluoride, which will etch away the glaze chemically.

•The crowns could have been put on with the glazed surface already damaged. If the dentist had to adjust the front surfaces of the crowns, he or she could have ground away the glaze. Or maybe the laboratory didn’t properly glaze them in the first place.

•The crowns could be actually made of another material, not porcelain. As outlandish as this sounds, I have had emails from patients complaining of porcelain crowns or porcelain veneers turning yellow and it was discovered that they were made of composite, not porcelain. If your dentist has misrepresented your treatment to this extent, I probably don’t need to tell you that you have a lot of leverage for getting your dentist to pay another dentist to get this done right for you. A simple refund may not be enough money because your crowns may be discounted—they need to pay the full fee for another dentist to do it right. Otherwise, you could get them in deep trouble.

Anyway, good luck with getting to the bottom of this. I’d be interested in finding out what you learn in your second opinion, if you wouldn’t mind getting back to me.
Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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