Will porcelain veneers or crowns be better for tetracycline stains?

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I have had tetracycline stains for my entire life. Now that I am an adult, I would like to get them fixed. My regular dentist wants to replace my stained teeth with porcelain crowns and I almost fainted when he told me how much it would cost. He didn’t seem very confident and mentioned that they don’t do this extensive of a procedure very often. Do I need to be concerned?

I was wondering if porcelain veneers would work? In the research I’ve done, I’ve seen that they can be successful if they are done correctly.

-Jenna in South Carolina


As you know, tetracycline stains are quite severe and can be very difficult to cover. It sounds like you are dealing with a general dentist that may not have the level of experience required to be successful. For an extreme case like tetracycline stains, you need an expert cosmetic dentist.

It’s difficult for a patient to navigate, but not just any dentist can do beautiful cosmetic dentistry. It was good that you listened to your gut and that your dentist was honest that he hasn’t treated many (if any) cases like yours. Also, porcelain crowns are an aggressive treatment option. In certain cases, porcelain veneers may be a treatment option if you find a highly-skilled cosmetic dentist in your area. It takes extensive training and experience in cosmetic dentistry in order to treat cases like yours. But, you can get a beautiful smile.

comparision of prep for crowns and prep for poreclain veneers

Comparison of the preparation required for porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers

The difference between a porcelain veneer and a crown is that a veneer covers the front of your tooth. And a crown fits over the entire tooth like a cap. Crowns are more invasive and much more of your natural tooth structure is removed.

The best thing to do is to find some excellent cosmetic dentist in your area and schedule a few consultations. You should ask to see cases very similar to yours and the before and after images. Ask how many tetracycline cases each dentist has done and see what their specific recommendations and treatment plans are. Specifically, inquire about their success using porcelain veneers to cover tetracycline stains. Going this route should give you a good sense of their philosophy, experience and ultimately a level of trust.

Dr. Miller is an expert cosmetic dentist in the the Lexington area. Check out her portfolio of work on the Hamburg Expressions website. She is a dentist that has had success treating tetracycline stains with porcelain veneers. Feel free to reach out with questions and look at her images to get an idea of what is possible with cosmetic dentistry. She has even seen success using Kor teeth whitening for tetracycline stains. So, be sure to ask your dentist if they would recommend Kor as an option.