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Botched Tetracycline Case

I’ve had tetracycline stains most of my life. Originally, I had some work done by having dental bonding done over them, but it was time to replace them. I’d since moved to another city and couldn’t see the original dentist. My new dentist suggested we do six dental crowns because it would “hide the stains better.” I did not do adequate research and just trusted what the dentist told me. Now I regret it. The crowns show the stains underneath, especially in fluorescent lighting. Plus, you can tell these are crowns because they look so different from the adjacent teeth.

What do I do here? He’s offered to send them back to the lab, but I’m not sure the results will get any better. Is it okay to ask for a refund?

Lannette

Dear Lannette,

Tetracycline stains are among the most difficlut cosmetic procedures to do. The stains are so dark and so deep, it takes real skill to get the repair opaque enough to cover the stains while still having that natural translucent look. Your dentist likely had good intentions but was in over his head.

Warning Signs He Didn’t Know What He Was Doing

First, he suggested porcelain crowns instead of porcelain veneers. This automatically shows he is not comfortable with cosmetic dentistry. Dental crowns, for this type of procedure, means unnecessarily grinding down healthy tooth structure.

Second, he suggested only six teeth. When we study in dental school we learn about front and back teeth. The first six are considered the front teeth. However, dentists who study cosmetic dentistry, do not divide things into anterior and posterior teeth. Instead, we talk about the aesthetic zone. This is the number of teeth visible when you smile. For most patients, that is eight to ten teeth. Not six.

With those adjacent teeth showing with the dark stains, it makes it obvious your front teeth are crowns.

I agree with you that this dentist is not going to be able to make it any better. I suggest you just ask for a refund. Then go to an experienced cosmetic dentist to do this. The best cosmetic dentists are AACD accredited, so I would look there. Unfortunately, once you have dental crowns placed you are stuck wtih crowns. The good news is an excellent cosmetic dentist can make them look natural and beautiful.

This blog is brought to you by Salam, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.