Notes on Masking Abutments [Part 2]

In our clinic, there is no shortage of patients coming in to replace old anterior dental restorations. The most frequent reasons for replacement are exposed metal margins and unnatural color, although splinted crowns are pretty popular as well. When the underlying tooth have gone through root canal therapy, we can oftentimes expect to see a discolored abutment, a metal post, or both. The bottom line is that the unwanted colors will need some kind of cover, and over time I’ve grown to appreciate these opportunities to try different products and techniques. In this case I used the Empress Direct from Ivoclar.

The patient came into the office asking for four upper anterior dental restorations. She didn’t like the way her peg laterals looked in comparison to the centrals, and the mismatched color of the PFM crown wasn’t helping.
After crown removal, it was obvious that an opaque mask will be needed to cover up that abutment.
#21 was covered with opaque resin and later trimmed. I am still getting the hang of applying this resin with an even coating, and the best I can do now is to lightly polish the abutment afterward.
The coverage was fairly successful. In retrospect, the value of the opaque resin was perhaps a bit too high, causing #21 to be slightly lighter in shade than #11. This was, however, not noticeable to the naked eye at the time.
A closer look at the stain details and colors on the restorations.
Final photo in MIP. The lower incisors were slightly trimmed to accommodate the longer upper anteriors.

Clinically, the biggest issue with the opaque resin is that it is very unforgiving during the trimming process, as removing too much of the resin can occur suddenly, forcing re-application of the product. Leaving too much resin, on the other hand, necessarily increases the cement space of the restoration and thereby weakening its overall integrity. It’s a balancing game, but I think once due diligence is paid, the outcomes can be very satisfying.