My twin sister and I both have tetracycline stains from some medicine we took when we were young. She decided to get something done about them. I kind of wanted to wait until I saw how hers turned out. She went to her family dentist. He crowned all her upper teeth and whitened the bottom teeth. He told her the bottom teeth wouldn’t look exactly like the top because tetracycline stains are hard to whiten. We were prepared for that. The crowns took him a couple of tries before he got something my sister was happy with. Though she likes them, I’m not too thrilled with them. To me, they’re so opaque they look like the porcelain you’d find in a bathtub. Is there a way to get it more natural looking? Yes, I know it’s still better than my teeth, but I’m wondering if a different dentist could have done a better job.
It takes an expert cosmetic dentist to create a beautiful solution for tetracycline stains. Most cosmetic dentists don’t have the technical skill and artistry necessary. It is among the most challenging of cosmetic cases. Because the tetracycline stains show through tooth structure, both natural and manmade, most cosmetic dentists go too far the other way, as your sister’s dentist did. They make them so opaque to cover the brown of the stains, their teeth end up looking like bathroom porcelain.
That doesn’t mean your case will have to turn out that way. In fact, I’m sad to say, those dentists who are highly skilled in their field spend a great deal of their time fixing subpar cosmetic procedures other dentists have done. We’ve had patients come to us from other offices in tears begging Dr. Malone to fix their smile.
I’m curious as to why your sister’s dentist used crowns on all her teeth. Did she have issues on them which required crowns? I don’t understand why he’d remove so much tooth structure if her teeth were otherwise healthy. Generally, I’d use porcelain veneers to cover tetracycline stains. This only requires mild shaving on the front of the tooth.
Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist
Even if there were a recognized specialty in cosmetic dentistry, every dentist’s skill level and artistic eye vary. How in the world is a patient to know if one cosmetic dentist is better than another? Would you even know what to ask if you had an opportunity to interview the dentist ahead of time? Of course not!
This is exactly why the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) formed. They wanted patients to have a resource where they could find expert cosmetic dentists. Any cosmetic dentist can join as a member, however, they have an accreditation program.
If a dentist is AACD accredited, they’re in the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. They’ve passed stringent exams, both oral and physical. They’ve also had to demonstrate their artistic ability by giving examples of a large number of specific cases they’ve personally performed.
I’d go to their website and look up which AACD accredited dentists are near to your area. It’s worth it to travel just a little if you need to.
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