Do I need to see a cosmetic dentist for problems with teeth whitening?

I have always had these little dark specks on my front teeth. They have always bothered me. My doctor mentioned that they could be from taking some antibiotic when I was a child. But they haven’t gone away like he said they would. I think they have actually become more noticeable as I got older. I’ve tried whitening strips, toothpastes, and other whitening kits, but I think they look worse.

Do you think if I went to a cosmetic dentist for teeth whitening that they would be taken care of? Any advice would be welcome.

– Justin in Nebraska


From what you have described it sounds like the dark spots are likely from the tetracycline antibiotic when you were younger. This medication was most likely administered while the teeth were still forming underneath your baby teeth. Tetracycline left little deposits on the dentin so that when the permanent teeth surfaced, they have dark brown spots. What is unique about this particular situation is that often times the staining increases further down into the tooth structure.

Professional teeth whitening works well with most cases, but unfortunately it will not work with tetracycline stains. The whitening agent may lighten the teeth slightly but it will not get rid of the brownish coloring on your teeth.

Porcelain veneers are the best solution to cover tetracycline staining. But it cannot be stressed enough how important it is that you seek the talents of a true cosmetic dentist. It takes significant training and experience in cosmetic dentistry to create beautiful results, especially as it pertains to these deep stains. The color must be opaqued out first and then another layer of transparency needs to be placed on the opaqued layer. This will help to give you natural-looking, white teeth. Not just any dentist can do beautiful porcelain veneers. So when you are interviewing dentists be sure to discuss with them the nature of your staining and ask to see specific cases where they have placed porcelain veneers over tetracycline stains. An expert cosmetic dentist will be open with you and will have no problem with you asking the right questions. Feel free to also request to talk to patients with tetracycline stains. It is likely that these individuals would like to tell you about their stories. Yet, the dentist always has to respect the patient’s privacy. Tetracycline stains are tricky, so be sure to do your homework and seek the talent’s of an expert cosmetic dentist.

Hopefully this helps you on your way to a beautiful new smile!

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

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