I have tetracycline stains that I am ready to get fixed. I’ve seen two dentists— my regular general dentist and a local cosmetic dentist. My dentist suggested porcelain crowns. He’s done a crown for me before and it looked very nice and natural. The cosmetic dentist suggested porcelain veneers. The cost for the dental crowns is half the price of the porcelain veneers. I want to do this right. These teeth have bothered me for years. But, is there a significant reason to spend the extra money for the porcelain veneers?
I’m glad you are asking questions. The first thing you need to know is there isn’t a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry. Just because a dentist calls themselves a cosmetic dentist doesn’t mean they are better. Nor does the fact that they charge more. That being said, I wouldn’t have the crowns done.
Tetracycline stains are one of the most difficult types of cosmetic cases a dentist can work with. They have to make the porcelain opaque enough to cover the stains while translucent enough to still look natural. When it comes to tetracycline stains, the porcelain crowns are an overly aggressive treatment.
The teeth have to be ground down quite a bit in order for there to be room for the dental crowns. This weakens the teeth and puts them at risk of breaking. Often dentists inexperienced in treating these type of stains recommend the crowns because they aren’t confident in their skills doing porcelain veneers. So the fact that your dentist wants to do the much more aggressive crowns is a red flag.
Additionally, there is no guarantee after you unnecessarily grind these teeth down that the crowns will be good enough. I know you said he’s done a crown for you before and you were happy with it. However, doing one crown is very different than dealing with a smile makeover, especially when tetracycline is involved.
Recommended Treatment for Tetracycline Stains
Most cosmetic dentists will suggest porcelain veneers. This can change anything and everything about your teeth— the shape, the size, the color. This is the go-to procedure for celebrities who want a smile makeover. It can do more than cover your tetracycline stains. It can give you the smile you’d always dreamed of having, not only covering the stains you are embarrassed by, but giving you a superstar smile.
Check the Dentist’s Results
I highly recommend you don’t just choose between these two dentists. You have a world of dentists available to you. But be careful in your choice. This is a very difficult cosmetic dentistry procedure, and it may be hard to tell if the dentist has enough skill to do this right. What I would suggest is to ask to see before and after smile gallery photographs of tetracycline cases they’ve personally done. If they can’t show you that, keep looking for another cosmetic dentist.
You also need to insist they do a temporary try-in of your porcelain veneers when they’re done. There is a try-in paste which will allow you to see the veneers on your teeth without bonding them. This enables you to look at them in various lighting and determine if they are what you wanted. If you’re at the right dental office, the dentist will be willing to send the case back to the laboratory and not bond them on if you are at all hesitant about how they look.
This blog is brought to you by East Cobb Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.