When I was a baby I was given medicine that caused a gray discoloration to my teeth. My dentist applied bonding to fix this issue, but now it’s chipping and dulling. Is there any type of whitener that I can use? I just can’t afford veneers right now.
– Pam from Tulsa
This discoloration is from tetracycline. When children are given tetracycline around the age of 12, when the adult teeth are forming, it will build up in the dentin. This is what causes the gray or dark brown stains, known as tetracycline stains. And the deeper the tetracycline penetrates the teeth, the darker the stains become.
Be sure to carefully select the right dentist for treating these stains. You’ll want to look for a dentist who has cosmetic dentistry experience, and who knows how to mask tetracycline stains.
Porcelain veneers are the most effective method, but if this is not in your budget, then your existing dental bonding may work. Here are your two best options:
1. As long as the bonding was applied over your intact enamel, then your dentist can remove the bonding with sandpaper disks. Many states allow dental hygienists to perform this procedure, so you may want to check into this to help save you money. After the bonding has been removed, start using a home tooth whitening system. You’ll need to use the strongest bleaching gel that you can endure, so you will need to get this from your dentist. Then, apply the bleaching gel every night for at least two months. Your teeth won’t look as nice compared to having porcelain veneers but by whitening them you will improve their appearance. Make sure to avoid any over-the-counter whitening systems, because the gel won’t be strong enough to work on tetracycline stains.
In office treatments such as, Zoom whitening, KöR whitening, or laser tooth whitening are much stronger and quicker bleaching techniques, but they can be quite costly if money is tight for you. These whitening procedures require many visits to the dentist.
2. If you find that some of your enamel has been removed before the bonding was applied, then you should set aside some money and have a cosmetic dentist place eight to ten porcelain veneers on your teeth. For now, get a dental professional to smooth out the existing bonding on your teeth. Porcelain veneers will cost you roughly 10% to twice the amount of having dental bonding done, but it will last much longer and look great the entire time.
Best of luck to you!