Tetracycline stains – can teeth whitening help?

Hello. I have permanent grayish stains on my teeth from medicine that was given to me as a baby. I had dental bonding put on my teeth to cover up the stains, but now the bonding is chipping and it looks a mess. It almost starting to look as bad as the original stains did. I know that porcelain veneers are the best choice, but I don’t have money for that. Is there a whitener that will help? Thank you. – Bobbie, Metairie


The gray stains on your teeth are tetracycline stains. If tetracycline is taken while your teeth are forming, it deposits in your teeth and discolors them with gray or dark brown stains or bands.

An experienced cosmetic dentist can cover the stains with porcelain veneers, and create a new smile that looks like your natural teeth.

If veneers are not within your budget, here are two treatments that an experienced cosmetic dentist can use:

  1. If some of your tooth enamel was not removed before the bonding was placed, the dentist can remove the bonding with sandpaper disks. In many states, and at a lower fee, a dental hygienist can remove the bonding. Then, you can get an at-home teeth whitening system from the dentist, which you’ll use every night for a couple of months. The at-home treatment is less expensive than in-office treatment. Although your teeth won’t look as good as they would with porcelain veneers, they will look much better. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are not strong enough for tetracycline stains. If you can afford in-office teeth whitening, choose KöR® Whitening Deep Bleaching™ System. KöR has proven to be the most effective teeth bleaching treatment for tetracycline stains.
  1. If some of your tooth enamel was removed before putting on the bonding, start saving for eight or ten porcelain veneers, and have them placed by an expert cosmetic dentist. Meanwhile, have the dentist smooth out the dental bonding, so that it looks better. You’ll find that the porcelain veneers will last many years, compared with the one or two years that dental bonding lasts.

This blog is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune of Metairie. Visit Dr. Delaune’s smile gallery to see tetracycline cases.

TMJ issues and bad crowns

Hi. About eight years ago, I had crowns placed on all of my teeth because I grind them terribly. Well, now I’ve worn down the crowns. My jaw hurts and clicks and it’s crooked. The ugly crowns have messed up my gums. I’m not sure that I gained anything with them. – Vickie, Kenner, LA

I was able to find a neuromuscular dentist that recommended an orthotic. The orthotic has made my bite worse, so the crowns are worn out. I know that a prosthodontist can expertly place the crowns, but after some research I’m wondering if I should go to a cosmetic dentist instead, so that my crowns will look natural. What am I sacrificing if I choose a cosmetic dentist?

Vickie – You’re right. A prosthodontist can expertly place the crowns and a cosmetic dentist can make them look natural. But you don’t have to choose between quality and appearance. You can find a dentist with expertise in placing porcelain crowns and who practices the part of cosmetic dentistry. He or she should also have experience in treating the TMJ disorder.

Carefully review the website of a cosmetic dentist. Does the website indicate that he or she places crowns? Do the smile gallery show pictures of natural-looking crowns? Does the dentist have experience in treating the TMJ disorder? Have a consultation with him or her to determine the extent of the dentist’s experience. Ensure that your questions are answered. If you need assistance locating a cosmetic dentist, mynewsmile.com can help.

This blog is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune of Metairie.