Does your mouth look like this? About 10% of Americans have tetracycline stains on their teeth. They're especially common in people over the age of 45.
Tetracyclines are a group of antibiotics that were once widely used to treat ear infections, urinary tract infections, intestinal infections, severe acne and other conditions. However, it wasn't until years later that doctors realized if children took the medication while their teeth were forming, then it could permanently discolor their teeth. If the medication was taken by a pregnant woman, then her baby could even end up having teeth that were permanently stained brown or grey.
Whitening kits, strips, gels and bleaching treatments can't hide the stains. The stains are in the dentin of the teeth, not the enamel. People with tetracycline stains usually choose to have veneers or crowns to achieve a smile they're proud to display.
Craig McEntyre, pictured, chose to have full-coverage, all-porcelain crowns. The crown goes over the whole tooth, as opposed to veneers, which are thin coverings that are bonded to your tooth. Dr. Diaa Ghabbour, a senior doctor at Coast Dental Wesley Chapel near Tampa, FL, placed crowns on eight of Craig's top teeth. The initial visit took about four hours for Dr. Ghabbour to make all of the impressions for the crowns. Then Craig returned about three weeks later to have the permanent crowns placed. That procedure took less than two hours.
The change was immediate and the impact is still being felt more than five years later.
"I still get compliments every day about having a nice smile," Craig said. Best of all, the crowns will never stain, change color or fade.
If you have tetracycline stains, there's no need to be embarrassed or ashamed of your smile. Talk to your dentist about how you can have your own smile make-over.
Wesley Chapel dentist Diaa Ghabbour, DMD, has been practicing dentistry since 2000. He provides general dentistry services to patients age 9 and up. Services include dental implant restorations, extractions and periodontal disease management. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. He practices at Coast Dental Wesley Chapel, 5348 County Road 581, Wesley Chapel, Florida, 33544. The phone number is (813) 973-1837 or call 1-800-32-SMILE to find another office that is close to you.
Written by: Beth Gaddis
Reviewed by: Craig McEntyre
Reviewed by: Diaa Ghabbour, DMD
Reviewed by: Cindy Roark, DMD