Improving the color of tetracycline-stained teeth using tooth-whitening treatments.
When this person submitted her photo for a digital makeover she said she simply wanted to see what her teeth would look like if they were whiter.
Case history and concerns:
As evidenced by her request, this person evidently is satisfied with the general shape and alignment of her teeth, she simply seeks a color change.
From only a picture, it’s impossible to know exactly what process has caused her tooth discoloration.
Since it appears that she is young, it’s unlikely that the staining has just been caused by the cumulative exposure to chromogenic agents such as coffee, tea, cola or tobacco products.
Due to genetics, it could be that her tooth enamel is just naturally darker than other people’s.
It is also possible (and probably most likely) that during the time frame when her teeth were forming that she had an exposure to a compound (such as the antibiotic tetracycline) that resulted in the staining.
“Before” photo submitted by website visitor.
1) There’s no reason not to try tooth-whitening first. –
The hope is that teeth-bleaching treatments (either performed at-home, in her dentist’s office, or a combination of both) can lighten her teeth and give her the improvement she desires.
We’ll admit that it might be somewhat unrealistic to expect that any process will lighten her teeth quite as much as we’ve illustrated in our “after” picture. That’s because so much of the success of tooth whitening is dependent on the underlying cause of the staining. And some types (like that caused by tetracycline) can be more difficult to treat than others. After an examination, her dentist could advise her as to what degree of results might be expected.
2) If whitening fails, then place porcelain veneers. –
If whitening treatments cannot provide the results that this person wants, then porcelain veneers may have to be considered. This treatment will, however, have a much greater expense. Additionally, the maintenance requirements associated with repairing and/or replacing the veneers at other points during this person’s lifetime are likely to be greater too.
The effort and cost associated with any “failed” whitening attempt would not be wasted. Making a large tooth-color change with porcelain veneers is easier and more predictable, at least in terms of achieving a natural-looking result, if the teeth have been lightened first.