Porcelain veneers or crowns for tetracycline stains?

I’ve seen two different cosmetic dentists about dealing with my tetracycline stains. They’ve recommended two very different solutions. The first dentist, who is well within my budget, wants to do porcelain crowns on the visible teeth. The other one, who goes several thousand dollars over my intended budget, wants to do porcelain veneers. Is there anything wrong with doing the crowns?


Dear Cassie,

porcelain veneer being held up by dental tool

Before we get into the cost difference, I’d like to talk about the different procedures. With dental crowns, you have to have a great deal of tooth structure removed. If those teeth don’t need that structure removed, you are weakening them unnecessarily.

Ask yourself why a dentist would choose to use a procedure which is unnecessarily aggressive. My guess is, it is the only procedure he’s comfortable with. Every dentist places dental crowns. That doesn’t mean they are skilled in cosmetic work.

With porcelain veneers, you only have to remove a minimum amount of tooth structure, about the thickness of a fingernail. You can always switch from veneers to crowns. But, once you have dental crowns, you will always have to have dental crowns.

Choose the Dentist Carefully

Tetracycline stains are among the most challenging cosmetic cases there are. Whatever is used needs to be opaque enough to cover the stains completely, but still be translucent enough to reflect light and look natural.

I would say only the top 1% of dentists in the country could do it beautifully. You need one of those dentists. I would recommend you look on the mynewsmile.com website. They screen every dentist who wants to be listed on their website.

No one can pay to be listed. They have to provide background on their cosmetic training as well as visual proof of their artistry.

One last thing, price doesn’t always give a good picture of the skill of the dentist. Some really bad dentists have high prices. Some really great dentists have average prices.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.