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How Can I Get Rid of Tetracycline Stains?

Tetracycline is an antibiotic commonly used to treat health concerns such as ear infections, bacterial infections, UTIs, and bronchitis. Unfortunately, one side effect of consuming these antibiotics is permanent enamel discoloration below the gumline, which often results in yellow, orange, or gray staining on the surface of the teeth. While tetracycline is no longer prescribed to certain groups of people due to these concerns, individuals who were given tetracycline in their childhood may now contend with severe tooth discoloration that disrupts a bright, luminous smile. Unfortunately, professional teeth whitening and dental bleaching agents are often not strong enough to treat tetracycline stains on the teeth. 

Since discoloration caused by tetracycline is embedded deep into the enamel, traditional teeth bleaching — such as at-home whitening trays or Zoom® whitening — is not usually effective in lightening these deep stains. Fortunately, tetracycline stains can be treated using more powerful whitening systems or KoR® whitening. KoR® whitening is a multi-step process that involves two in-office visits. During the appointment, the teeth are whitened using a light-activated gel. Subsequently, there’s an at-home period in which patients wear whitening trays to sleep. This whitening agent can have significant results, but a thorough examination by one of our dental providers is recommended to determine whether it’s the right treatment for a patient. Deep staining can also be concealed with porcelain veneers, a simple cosmetic treatment that can be completed in no longer than two office visits. Veneers can address a number of imperfections, including:

  • Severe staining and discoloration that is unresponsive to teeth whitening
  • Gaps between the teeth
  • Short or worn teeth and asymmetries
  • Cracks and chips in the enamel

These restorations are crafted to look and feel like your natural teeth, so much so that many patients with porcelain veneers forget they have them. Veneers are also resistant to staining and can hide the appearance of yellow, gray, or orange discoloration. Our dentists encourage you to communicate your concerns with our dental team so we can develop the best treatment plan for your needs. 

Scripps Center for Dental Care offers a multitude of cosmetic dentistry treatments to correct deep staining, gaps, chips in the enamel, and other flaws in your smile. Visit our San Diego and La Jolla-area dental practice to learn more about your options or contact our team to schedule an initial consultation.

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For more information, or if you with to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today.

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