I can’t afford porcelain veneers. Will teeth whitening work?

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I am considering getting teeth whitening done because my old dental bonding is looking dingy. The bonding was done years ago to cover gray stains that were caused from a medicine given to me as a baby. I have been told porcelain veneers are best. But, I cannot afford them. What kind of teeth bleaching will work for severe stains?

-Mia in Washington


The stains you are referencing are called tetracycline stains. When the medicine is given to children under 12 years old, it has been known to leave a dark stain to the permanent teeth. It usually is severe brown or gray stains.

When porcelain veneers are done by an expert cosmetic dentist, they can cover tetracycline stains. Although, not just any cosmetic dentist, will be able to accomplish a beautiful look. It requires extensive training in cosmetic dentistry to succeed with tetracycline stains.

But, it sounds like porcelain veneers are not an option that will work for your budget. So, if you had dental bonding done before, there are a couple things you may want to consider.

Affordable Options to Cover Tetracycline Stains

If the dental bonding was placed on your enamel when it was intact, it can be removed. In fact, a dental hygienist may be able to save you some money by doing it, instead of the dentist. They will remove the old bonding material with sandpaper disks.

teeth whitening trays for taking homeAfter that, the dentist can fit your for an at-home teeth whitening system. This will involve getting fitted for a teeth bleaching tray and the strongest teeth whitening agent available.

Keep in mind, teeth whitening can cause sensitivity. So, you’ll need to find one that you can handle without discomfort. If you keep up with regular teeth bleaching at home, your teeth will whiten. But, they will never be as white as they’d be with porcelain veneers.

Steer clear of teeth whitening products from the drug store. They are simply not strong enough to address the severe tetracycline stains.

Zoom whitening or laser whitening won’t work well for you either. Although, these in-office teeth whitening methods are stronger and faster, they can be expensive because you will require multiple rounds of whitening. So, if you keep up with the home treatments, that will be the most economical.

Another teeth whitening you may consider is Kor whitening. You might have to save up a little bit to go this route, because it may be more expensive than take-home whitening trays. The Kor teeth bleaching system is the only one available on the market to successfully remove tetracycline stains.

Now, if the dentist removed your enamel when applying the dental bonding from years ago, these teeth whitening options will not work. You can have the bonding redone. But, it will continually need to be redone, which adds up over time. Therefore, you should strongly consider financing the porcelain veneers or saving up for them. They will be the solution you are most satisfied with in the long run.

Hopefully, this will point you in the right direction.

This post is sponsored by Lexington cosmetic dentist Hamburg Expressions.