I haven’t smiled in a long time. It’s not that I’m depressed or just plain unhappy. I’m embarrassed. I have tetracycline stains. I’ve been to see two dentists about this. One suggested crowns. The other veneers. I’m not sure which is better. I’m guessing crowns would cover the stains better, but I don’t really like the idea of grinding down my teeth. Do you have a recommendation?
I’m not going to recommend the porcelain crowns for the same reason you are not excited about them. It would require getting rid of healthy tooth structure. It’s not required, either, to cover the stains. Though, some dentists will use it as a crutch.
Covering tetracycline stains are among the most challenging procedures a cosmetic dentist can do. The stains are dark and deep. This isn’t your fault. I hope you know that. Though, I do realize that likely doesn’t ease the embarrassment for you.
I’d recommend porcelain veneers. However, it will require the best of the best of cosmetic dentists. We’re talking someone in the top 1-2% of his or her field. The veneers have to be made opaque enough to cover the stains, but still have a natural translucency to give it that varied shine.
There are opalescent porcelains which can help with this, but not many ceramists have them. Again, a skilled cosmetic dentist knows about these and who will know how to use them properly.
Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist
I’d start by choosing the dentist, not the procedure. The top cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited. This is a certification awarded by The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. These dentists are highly skilled and artistic.
However, be sure to ask them how many tetracycline cases they’ve done and ask for before and after pictures. I’m a big believer in trust but verify.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.