Tetracycline is an antibiotic used to treat many common bacterial infections. When tetracycline is prescribed for treating childhood infections or given to pregnant women in the second or third trimester, a common side effects is permanent tooth staining or discolouration. Tetracycline stains typically appear bright yellow shade to dark brown, grey or blue. Often the staining starts out as a yellow colour and turns to a dark brown after the tooth is exposed to light. In the most severe cases, patients can exhibit deep gray or brown stains over the entire tooth with dark banding near the gumline. Other stains appear in a pattern of horizontal stripes of differing intensity. If you have tetracycline stains, your Tsawwassen dentist Dr. Jan Roberts can help you transform your smile.
How Tetracyline Stains Your Teeth
When teeth are exposed to tetracycline (whether in utero or through oral administration) at a time of tooth mineralization or calcification, tetracycline will bind to calcium ions (calcium orthophosphate) in the teeth. If this happens prior to the eruption of the teeth through the gums, the tetracycline bound will cause an initial fluorescent discoloration. Once exposed to light, the tetracycline oxidizes and the discoloration changes from fluorescent yellow to a nonfluorescent brown over months to years. The dark stains caused by tetracycline penetrate deep into the tooth enamel and into the dentine below the enamel. These deep stains need an experienced dentist to reduce their appearance and restore the natural color of the teeth.
Solutions for Treating Tetracycline Stains
There are a number of treatment options Dr. Jan Roberts offers at our South Delta, BC dentist office for treating tetracycline staining, including:
- bleaching or teeth whitening
- porcelain veneers
- composite resin veneers (including “Componeers”)
In milder cases of tetracycline stains, bleaching is often the preferred treatment as it minimally invasive and avoids the need to remove any tooth structure. Typically bleaching your teeth only lightens the discoloration and may leave a translucent appearance. Bleaching alone is usually inadequate when treating severe discolouration. In severe cases of tetracycline stains, the best solution is to cover the affected teeth with porcelain crowns or veneers. The results are truly life-changing!
We are proudly serving the Tsawwassen and South Delta, BC communities. Contact us today to learn more about tetracycline stain solutions or to book a consultation.