Tetracycline is an antibiotic used to treat infection. While it works to fight certain illnesses, it can have a negative impact on your smile. If tetracycline is taken by pregnant women or by children while their teeth are still forming, the teeth will develop with dark stains. Usually, this medication produces brown or grayish discolorations that may cover all or part of the teeth.
People with tetracycline stains may feel self-conscious about their smiles. Your dentist can evaluate your case and discuss options for creating a gorgeous, new image. Treatments such as teeth whitening or porcelain veneers can remove stains and restore your smile.
In the past, teeth whitening was not a very effective therapy for tetracycline stains on teeth. Because the stains are intrinsic, which means they occur within the tooth, whitening didn’t always produce results. However, repeated chair side laser whitening sessions and deep bleaching products have worked in cases where the staining was not particularly dark.
The most common treatment with tetracycline stains is porcelain veneers. Made from thin shells of dental porcelain, veneers cover your teeth and produce a bright, white smile. Porcelain veneers are durable, stain-resistant, and designed to create naturally looking restorations.
With veneers, your doctor will first take impressions of your teeth to be sent to the dental lab that will handcraft your custom restorations. The dentist will then prepare the teeth for placement. Often, the dentist will place temporary veneers, which will give you a chance to preview your new look. Once the lab sends your permanent veneers to the office, you will need to return for minor adjustments and final placement.