My sister and I both have tetracycline stains. About ten years ago, she had porcelain veneers placed on hers. Her dentist told her they’d have to be made a little opaque to cover the stains. While her teeth look better, they still aren’t beautiful and natural looking. I’m hoping to improve my smile. Have there been any developments/advancements in veneers which will allow them to look more realistic?
The technology has been there. The problem your sister faced is going to a cosmetic dentist who hasn’t developed the skills necessary to do a beautiful job. Tetracycline cases are among the most challenging cases a cosmetic dentist can handle. I would say only the top 1% of dentists have the ability to do this well.
The problem comes in getting the porcelain veneers opaque enough to cover the tetracycline stains, yet translucent enough to reflect light and look perfectly natural. Another common mistake is they don’t cover the edges of the teeth well enough, which causes the stains to stand out, like an outline of the tooth.
Some dentists will try to use Lumineers. These are highly marketed as being easy to place, which makes them tempting for an inexperienced cosmetic dentist. Unfortunately, because of the way Lumineers are designed, these don’t work for tetracycline stains. Not only will they look too opaque, but they don’t wrap around the sides at all, leaving that dark outline or shadowing around the teeth.
If you want to do this right, you need to find a top of the line cosmetic dentist.
Locating an Expert Cosmetic Dentist
In your place, I’d look for a dentist who has reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. To become accredited, dentists have to pass stringent exams thoroughly testing their technical knowledge. In addition to that, they also have to provide visual evidence of a large number of cosmetic cases they’ve done personally. This shows they don’t just have head knowledge but are artistic as well.
It will be well worth it to you to see an AACD accredited dentist, even if it means traveling to a nearby state to get one. If you’re going to pay for a beautiful smile, you want to make sure the dentist has the skills required to provide one. In fact, most of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.