Are dental crowns the only solution for severe tetracycline staining? I don’t have any tooth decay, but I am more self-conscious about my teeth as I age. I’ve seen three dentists in town, and they all recommend crowns. After listening to the dentists and doing research, I understand that the only way to get crowns is to grind down my teeth. The dentists recommend crowns on all my upper and lower teeth that show when I smile. Crowns sound aggressive, and I am also afraid about what I will do if the crowns look fake. Are crowns the only way to go? Thank you. Darius Y.
Concealing severe tetracycline stains is one of the most challenging aesthetic issues for a dentist.
What causes tetracycline stains in teeth?
If a child takes the antibiotic tetracycline while permanent teeth form, one side effect is permanent tooth stains. Severe stains are an embedded grayish brown that noticeably darkens teeth.
Will porcelain veneers work for tetracycline stains?
Although porcelain veneers can conceal tetracycline stains, the dentist must overcome some challenges:
- Creating a result that looks somewhat translucent without allowing the darkness of the stains to show through.
- Avoid using too much opaquer, which makes veneers look chalky and fake
- Understanding that covering the fronts of teeth only with veneers will leave dark shadows from the stains on the edges of teeth
An understanding of porcelain color manipulation
Advanced cosmetic dentists understand how to manipulate the color of porcelain to conceal tetracycline stains, maintain translucence, and achieve natural-looking results. Ask for recommendations for an accredited cosmetic dentist from friends or family or search online for an accredited cosmetic dentist. They will not automatically recommend giving you sedation and grinding down your teeth for dental crowns.
Some advanced cosmetic dentists and dental labs use opalescent porcelains to appear translucent while blocking out tooth darkness. An expert cosmetic dentist understands the art, which materials to use, and how to improve your smile. You can expect to pay for work from a dental artist, but you will get predictable results that last.
David Finley, DDS, of Monroe, LA, sponsors this post.