15 years ago, my dentist used dental bonding to hide tetracycline stains. He did an excellent job, and I had no issues with his work. But over the years, the bonding started to wear and look yellow. I’ve relocated since then and have a new dentist that my family and coworkers recommended. I asked for porcelain veneers instead of bonding because I know it lasts longer than bonding. My dentist recommended six crowns instead of veneers because he said he could hide the stain better with crowns and improve my gummy smile. Regrettably, I listened.
The tetracycline stains show through my crowns. My dentist says the lab will redo the faulty crowns, but he thinks other crowns look okay. I wish I had insisted on veneers, and now I am concerned that I am on a course of repeat dental work and will not be able to break the cycle. How should I proceed? Thank you. Hae-Won
We are sorry to hear about your experience. Many dentists who are uncomfortable using porcelain veneers recommend dental crowns instead. Concealing tetracycline stains is a challenging procedure for most dentists.
Do Dental Crowns Work for Tetracycline Stains?
Unfortunately, now that your dentist has prepared your teeth for crowns, the only way to correct the issue is with more crowns. You do not have enough tooth structure remaining for veneers. But this time, you can take control of the situation by looking for an advanced cosmetic dentist to complete the work. And there are factors to insist on this time.
Correction for eight teeth—not six
When you smile, at least eight teeth show. Some people with broader smiles show more than eight teeth. So, six crowns are not enough to hide all the teeth affected by tetracycline stains when you smile. But a cosmetic dentist will analyze your smile and determine the extent of stains on your remaining front teeth and whether crowns are the best option.
Find a dentist with advanced, post-graduate cosmetic dentistry training
Without advanced cosmetic dentistry training, a dentist will not understand the color issues involved in the stains and how to manipulate porcelain to conceal them. Look for an artistic cosmetic dentist who will achieve natural-looking results. Please don’t return to your dentist to resolve the issue.
Schedule consultations with at least two cosmetic dentists to discuss your options.
Dr. Siny Thomas of Sugar Land, Texas, sponsors this post. He is a graduate of the Kois Center for cosmetic and restorative dentistry.