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Are BL2 Shade Crowns Too Bright for My Complexion?

Red-head woman portraying uncertainty about dental crown shade for full-mouth reconstrcutionWithin the next few months, I will get either crowns or veneers on most of my upper teeth. I had gum disease and a lot of decay. I talked to my dentist about tooth shade because I want whiter teeth, too if I need so much work done. My complexion is fair, and I want my teeth to be brighter than average without looking fake. Is BL2 too bright? I want to decide on a crown shade before asking a dentist to whiten my lower teeth so that I explain how white I want them. Thanks for your help. Sakura from San Diego


Thank you for your question.

Are BL2 Crowns Too Bright?

BL2 is bright, but you will need to consult with a cosmetic dentist to compare shades against your skin tone and lips. Although BL4 may look more natural, work with a skilled cosmetic dentist to choose a crown color based on your facial features, complexion, and personality. If you want a bright smile and have a big or vibrant personality, shades lighter than BL4 will get your smile noticed when you walk into a room. BL1 is the brightest shade on newer shade guides.

How to Select Your Dental Crown Color

You can choose your dental crown color by selecting an advanced cosmetic dentist who follows a process like this:

  • Make a provisional makeover – Cosmetic dentists who regularly complete smile makeovers make temporary teeth in resin so that you can try out their color and shape.
  • Allow you to wear the temporary replacement teeth – Wear the provisional (temporary) teeth, let your friends and family see your new smile, and give yourself enough time to decide whether you like the tooth color.

However, a cosmetic dentist must bleach your teeth before getting dental crowns if you want your natural teeth whitened. Your dentist will collaborate with a ceramist to craft crowns that match your newly whitened teeth.

You can schedule consultations with two different cosmetic dentists to explain your goals. Ask each dentist about their process for helping you get a crown color that meets your preference for a bright, noticeable smile that still looks natural.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.


How Much Bone Grafting Will I Need for Dental Implants?

I have a combination of old crowns, a partial denture, and decayed and missing teeth. I saw two dentists, and one of them recommends full-mouth reconstruction that will include six dental implants. The six missing teeth have been gone for almost 12 years. The dentist said I probably would need bone grafting, but he would refer me to a periodontist for the implants. I know I need bone grafting because I can see that the bone is low where the teeth are missing. I’m unsure which dentist I will choose to complete the work, but both visits left me with questions. How much bone grafting will I need? Will this process take more than a year? Thank you. Nathan from Rockville, MD


Thank you for your question.

How Much Bone Grafting Will You Need for Dental Implants?

Your jawbone loss will determine how much grafting you need for dental implants. An implant dentist, oral surgeon, or periodontist must take a 3-D CT scan to measure the bone volume throughout your jaw and identify where to place implants. An American Academy of Implant Dentistry published an article on missing teeth and bone loss. The article states that bone shrinks 25 percent in the first three months after tooth loss and up to 50 percent in the first six months. For denture wearers, dentures resting on the jawbone accelerate shrinkage.

After twelve years, your bone loss may be significant. The 3-D CT scan is a critical factor to successful implant placement that a doctor must not overlook. As you have consultations with different implant dentists, ask whether they use the scans to determine whether patients are eligible for dental implants and where to place them. Find another provider if an implant dentist you consult with does not use a 3-D CT scan for treatment planning.

How Long Does It Take to Get Dental Implants?

The time it takes to get dental implants varies because no two patients’ cases are identical. Depending on the treatment needed, you may expect the following:

  • If you need bone grafting before implant placement, expect four to six months of healing before implant surgery.
  • After implant surgery, your doctor will allow three to four months of healing. You can wear temporary replacement teeth during that time.
  • When a doctor must remove teeth before placing implants, they may complete extractions, bone grafting, and implant placement during one appointment. Healing will take four to six months.
  • After your jawbone and implants integrate, your doctor will expose the implants, attach a connector (abutment), and allow several months for your gums to form around the abutments.
  • Your dentist will attach your final replacement teeth to the abutments.

A full-mouth reconstruction includes a combination of dental treatments. Your dentist and the doctor who places your implants (if different from your dentist) will coordinate your care. Your dentist will give you an estimate of the total time for restoring your oral health and smile.


Before-and-after patient photos for full-mouth reconstruction
Photos of one of Dr. Lim’s full-mouth reconstruction patients

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.


After 28 Dental Crowns, My Bite Is Off, and My Mouth Is Dry

In February 2021, I got crowns on all my upper and lower teeth. I have battled with dry mouth since then. My smile is broader because my dentist opened my bite, so I try to smile with my mouth closed. My dentist said he could lower the crowns, but the thought seems overwhelming—lower the crowns on all my teeth? I am not confident that my dentist’s solution is the correct answer or the only answer. Any suggestions? Thanks. Kendrick from Michigan



Unfortunately, your dentist opened your bite and made your crowns higher than your natural teeth, so you are experiencing lip incompetence and dry mouth.

What Is Lip Incompetence?

Lip incompetence is a condition that occurs when you are unable to close your teeth naturally after getting dental crowns. But the long-term effects are more severe than being uncomfortable or annoying. Persistent dry mouth leads to reduced saliva production and overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria can creep into the crown margin and cause gum disease.

Your dentist should accept responsibility for his mistake of seating 28 crowns too high. He should refund you so you can find a skilled dentist who can address all your concerns.

Most dentists do not have enough training on full-mouth reconstruction. The procedure is complex and requires advanced training and experience in occlusion and bite and cosmetic dentistry.

Opening Your Bite

Temporary crowns or composite can open your bite for you to experience the look and feel and how it affects how your lips close and how you chew. A dentist trained in occlusion and bite opens your bite temporarily to ensure you are comfortable with it. A ceramist can custom make your permanent crowns when the test is complete.

What Can You Do Now?

We recommend finding a skilled dentist with experience and training in cosmetic dentistry, occlusion, and bite. Schedule a second-opinion appointment. If the new dentist feels that your teeth issues result from your current dentist’s work, ask them to help you get a refund from your current dentist.

If your dentist is unwilling to refund you, other options are to report the issue to the state dental board or seek legal advice.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.

Before-and-after dental crowns
Before and after photos of Dr. Lim’s patient with a beautifully restored smile




Dentist Wants to Use Crowns to Whiten My Teeth

Red-haired woman portraying concern of a dentist using crowns to whiten her teethFrom the first premolar to the first premolar on both sides of my mouth, I have 3 crowns and 4 veneers. The crowns and veneers are more than 15 years old and are discoloring. Since the summer of 2020, I’ve been having issues with dry mouth. I want my dentist to replace the crowns and veneers, but he suggests crowns on all my upper and lower teeth for dry mouth and whither teeth. My dentist surprised me with the recommendation, so I asked for time to think about it. It really sounds like over-treatment to me. What is your opinion? – Thank you. Felicia from Philadelphia


Thank you for your question.

Your dentist’s recommendation to replace veneers with crowns and crown all your teeth to make them white is super-aggressive. Please do not agree to overtreatment.

Whitening Your Teeth

If you want your teeth whiter, bleaching them is the best option. But grinding down your teeth for crowns destroys healthy tooth structure. Unless bleaching gel does not whiten your teeth due to issues like fluorosis stains or severe tetracycline stains, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers.

Also, placing crowns on all your teeth is full-mouth reconstruction, a procedure that requires advanced skill to prevent issues with your bite, TMJ, and speech issues.

Replacing Porcelain Veneers with Crowns

An ethical dentist’s goal is to preserve your healthy tooth structure—not replace your crowns with veneers. Usually, a dentist who wants to replace porcelain veneers with crowns is uncomfortable with veneers. If you already have a dry mouth, full-mouth reconstruction can open your bit too far and make it worse.

We recommend looking for an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine and x-ray your teeth. The dentist will identify the cause of your dry mouth, whiten your teeth, and match your new crowns and veneers to your whiter teeth.


Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.