I had dental bonding done ages ago to cover up tetracycline stains. As the years have gone by, my teeth have taken on a very unnatural mismatched look, but I haven’t been able to do anything about it. I asked my dentist what my options are, and he told me I have to get porcelain veneers. I tried explaining to him that they’re out of my budget, but he says that’s all I can do. I asked him if he could do more dental bonding to fix it, but he said no. I asked him if I could whiten them and he said it wouldn’t work. I’m at a loss here. Is there an alternative or do I really have to live with funky looking teeth until I can afford veneers?
Lucinda in Arizona
It sounds like you’re seeing a dentist who doesn’t handle much cosmetic dental work. Porcelain veneers are usually the preferred method to treat tetracycline staining and they’ll give you the best results if you’re looking for a bright and uniform smile. However, they’re not the only option.
The dental bonding can absolutely be redone, unless there’s a structural problem with your teeth. Given that he says you’re a candidate for veneers, your teeth are probably sound. Teeth whitening, on the other hand, is very difficult to achieve results with. Tetracycline stains are highly resistant to whitening, and it can take months of repeated at-home whitening (even using a professional-strength gel) to see results.
For starters, it’s a good idea to visit a dentist who does a lot of cosmetic work. It’s possible that some of the staining can be removed with polishing. You can try at-home whitening, but only if you’re patient enough to stick with it, even if you don’t see results right away. This won’t change the color of the dental bonding, which is why it will need to be replaced. For the best results, it’s a good idea to see if the original bonding can be removed before you start whitening, and then replaced after you finish whitening.
This method isn’t the traditional one. It will take months to complete, and you’ll probably want to find an alternate dentist to do it. If you’re not up for the lengthy treatment process or don’t think you’ll have the dedication needed to whiten effectively, your only other logical option is to start saving up for porcelain veneers.