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Fixing Tetracycline Stains without Porcelain Veneers

I have tetracycline stains. I had bonding put on them several years ago, but they’ve gotten kind of old, bumpy, and stained. I can’t afford porcelain veneers. Is there any way whitening will help?


Dear Candace,

teeth whitening trays

For the benefit of those who do not know what tetracycline stains are, if you take tetracycline before you are 12 years old, it will deposit in the dentin of your teeth. This will look like grayish or brown stains on the adult teeth. They are very difficult to deal with. The ideal solution is porcelain veneers. However, if you are persistent enough, there is a way to deal with it with teeth whitening.

However, before we get into that, I’d like you to understand that this can’t be treated by your typical general dentist. I would like you to look for someone on the mynewsmile.com website to handle tetracycline stains. This is especially true if you are ever able to get porcelain veneers, which is the best treatment for it. I’m going to suggest you look for a dentist on the mynewsmile.com website. These dentists are prescreened for both their technical ability and their artistry.

The first thing to start with is the current bonding.

If the Bonding was Placed on Enamel

You’ll want to have the dentist remove the enamel. This is done with sandpaper disks. Some states allow a hygienist to do this which could save you some money.

After the bonding is removed, you will want your dentist to custom fit some teeth whitening trays for you. Then get the strongest teeth whitening gel he or she has available. From there you want to whiten as long as you can each day without developing sensitivity. You will want to do that at least for at least two months.

You may be tempted to do something like Zoom Whitening or laser whitening because they are strong. However, the number of times you would have to do them would cost you way too much money. You are much better off doing the in-office whitening. This will get your teeth much nicer, not porcelain veneers nice, but quite nice.

If the Bonding was Placed on the Enamel

If it happened that the dentist removed some enamel to place the dental bonding then, as unfortunate as it is, the only real solution for you will be to get porcelain veneers. Don’t get dental bonding again. It doesn’t last as long, is more time consuming for the dentist to place, and will end up costing you so much more in the long run. Save up for the procedure that will give you the best short term and long term results.

In the meantime, you can have someone smooth out the current bonding. Hopefully, yours is bonded on the enamel.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.