Tetracycline Stains

Why do teeth have Tetracycline Stains?

Tetracycline stained teeth are a brown or grayish in color. The entire tooth may be stained or there may be areas of dark stain in parts of the tooth. The stain is usually darker towards the center of the teeth, which is a big problem if the teeth are ground down. The darker the stain, the more difficult it becomes to hide the tetracycline stain with porcelain and still get a natural tooth color. This is a very important factor when considering porcelain veneers. We will discuss this aspect later in this article.

Dark Internal Stains
Tetracycline Stained teeth have a grayish-brown color that teeth bleaching or teeth whitening cannot resolve

How do teeth get Tetracycline Stain?

Tetracycline is an antibiotic that stains the permanent teeth if taken while they are developing inside the jaw. Permanent teeth begin developing inside the jaw at around three years of age and continue into the teenage years. Once the teeth erupt into the mouth, they are no longer subject to tetracycline stain. A teenager can take the antibiotic and not get tetracycline stain but a younger person with teeth developing inside the jaw will get tetracycline stain permanently.

At the time that the antibiotic was approved, it was unknown that tetracycline would permanently stain developing teeth. Tetracycline was developed as an alternative to Penicillin and was given to children who had bacterial infections. The tetracycline became incorporated inside the developing teeth and left the teeth permanently dark in color.

Tetracycline Stain
Tetracycline stain is a dark brown band of color inside the upper teeth. The upper teeth required porcelain veneers to change their shape and color. The lower teeth do not appear to have much tetracycline stain. They responded very well to the teeth bleaching or teeth whitening

Teeth Whitening & Tetracycline Stain

Teeth whitening or teeth bleaching are successful with tetracycline-stained teeth when the stain is not very dark. In the picture above, the patient’s upper teeth are too dark to bleach. Veneers are the best option not only because non-invasive porcelain veneers will permanently whiten the teeth, but porcelain veneers can also change the shape and size of her small upper teeth. This patient’s lower teeth can be whitened with a low power teeth-bleaching material over several months. People with minimal tetracycline stain on their teeth may have to continue daily use of the bleaching material for up to 6 months for noticeable results that will last. This procedure needs to be supervised by the dentist to make sure no damage to the enamel or gums occurs.

Tetracycline Stains - Teeth Whitening Case Study
Instant Braces refer to a procedure that instantly straightens and whitens the teeth with
non-invasive porcelain veneers. Treatment on her upper teeth was completed in only two
weeks. The teeth are instantly whiter, brighter, straight and well proportioned in
just two weeks and only two visits

Tetracycline Stain and Non-Invasive Porcelain Veneers

Non-invasive porcelain veneers are the best solution to hide the tetracycline stain without destroying the natural tooth structure. Non-invasive porcelain veneers, however, are often bulky and fake looking. Creating perfectly natural looking veneers to match a patient’s facial features is truly an art form that requires substantial skill on the dentist’s behalf. (See Samantha’s video testimonial to hear about bad porcelain veneers) This patient opted for non-invasive veneers because she was very concerned about reducing her natural teeth ground. The “after photos” show how the veneers perfectly conceal the dark tetracycline stain and also make her “peg lateral incisors “ look just like natural teeth. (View our Tetracycline Stain Case Gallery for Case Studies and Before-and-After photos.)

Tetracycline Stain and Tooth Color

A great aspect about Dr. Muslin’s treatment is that patients have the ability to see the porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns on their teeth before they are bonded in place. The patient can decide if they meet his or her requirements of shade, shape and smile design. When teeth are balanced with the facial features and complexion, they blend in so well that they appear as a natural part of the body. In the “before and after photos” shown above, the difference is dramatic, but most of her friends, teachers and fellow students could not tell that she had cosmetic dentistry. They told her how great she looked but could not tell her why. She received comments about how much better she looked, but her new smile looked so natural that people could not tell she had porcelain veneers that were just completed.

Tetracycline Stain Case Study
This patient came in to our office with tetracycline-stained teeth, retained baby teeth, a diastema (a space between the central incisors) and rotated teeth. The treatment for the cosmetic dentist is very challenging. The porcelain veneers were to be non-invasive on as many teeth as possible

Tetracycline Stain and Cosmetic Dentists

Treatment to fix a combination of problems as tetracycline stain, rotated teeth that stick out and also have spaces (diastemas) can be challenging for the dentist. The difficult part is to get the gums to look natural between the teeth and grow up between the teeth. The teeth also have to appear straight, have surface texture to reflect the light and look completely natural. Ultimately, the dentist’s level of experience in cosmetic dentistry makes all the difference in the end results. High quality work is measured by the appearance of the restorations, the patients’ comfort and most importantly, the patients’ satisfaction. Every patient is directly involved with the results by actually seeing the porcelain veneers on their teeth before they are bonded into place.

Tetracycline Stain and Gums Growing Back

The gums grew back between her two front teeth for a more balanced smile. Without the gums growing back, this patient would not have the results of beautiful natural looking cosmetic dentistry because there would be a black space between the central incisors. The skill of the dentist and technical ability to create the perfect shape and perfect bond for gum growth is the key to successful results when treating spaces between the teeth. The advanced technical level of tooth bonding and years of experience with porcelain veneers by the cosmetic dentist helps achieve the most natural-looking results porcelain veneers surrounded by healthy gums.

Teracycline Stain - Before Treatment
This picture was shown at the beginning of this article and can now
be compared with the results
Teracycline Stain - After Treatment