Both my sister and I have tetracycline stains. About five years ago, she covered them with porcelain veneers but her dentist said they had to be made opaque in order to cover the stains. As a result, they look sort of chalky and fake. I wondered if it is still that way or if there have been more modern developments in the porcelain veneers procedure. I’d really like to improve my smile.
Though good news for you, your sister probably won’t be thrilled to know that she could have had a more natural-looking smile herself. The key to this is the dentist. Porcelain veneers are an advanced procedure under any circumstances but when you add tetracycline stains into the mix and only about 1% of the cosmetic dentists in the country could do this right. That is because the veneers have to be made opaque enough to cover the stains, but translucent enough to look natural. Some dentists try doing dental crowns instead, thinking the added material will help cover the stains, but that ends up having the same problem. The only thing that is different is they had to remove a lot more healthy tooth structure than was necessary.
With cosmetic dentistry not being a recognized specialty, it is up to the dentist how much time and money they invest in cosmetic training. That makes it a bit tricky for the patients. How are you supposed to know if one general dentist invested in more training than another? Also, because cosmetic work is an artform, some dentists will have more artistic ability than others.
If I were in your place, I would only go to a dentist who has been accredited by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. AACD accredited dentists had to pass stringent exams demonstrating they have the technical knowledge necessary to do the procedures correctly. Not only that, they also have to provide visual evidence on a large list of cosmetic cases they have done themselves that are examined by an accreditation board for skill as well as artistry. They are the top cosmetic dentists in the country and you will get a beautiful, natural-looking smile makeover.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.