Tetracycline Teeth Whitening - What is the Process and Costs?

Hi, I've tried Britesmile and inhome tray but I still have some yellowish stain toward the gum (a dentist said I must have taken a lot of antibiotics when I was a kid...and she's right!). What is the process of Tetracycline teeth whitening and how much does it typically costs? Thanks for your time.

Doctor Answers 4

Bleaching Tetracycline Stained Teeth

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Bleaching tetracycline stained teeth is extremely difficult. You will see little to no improvement if done the way we normally bleach teeth. Normal teeth bleach nicely in as little as a few hours up to a couple of weeks. However, tetracycline stained teeth do not respond like normal teeth. We used to believe that there was really no hope of tetracycline stained teeth and the only way to change their color was to put veneers on them. Recently there have been documented cases of tetracycline stained teeth that if bleached DAILY for LONG periods of time (up to a YEAR or more) that bleaching was effective and not just marginally effective but DRAMATICALLY effective. The bottom line, if you have tetracycline stained teeth and you want them to appear more white then your only options are covering the teeth with veneers or crowns or bleaching DAILY for a LONG TIME. The good news is that bleaching teeth is safe and much less expensive than veneers, the bad news is that it takes a great deal of perserverance and time.

Good luck!

Severity of tetracyline staining

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Results of bleaching tetracycline stained teeth can  run the gamut.  In some cases where the tetraycyline banding was not too severe,  bleaching with a lower percentage of bleach ( to minimize sensitivity) over a longer period of time resulted in lightening  the lower portion of the tooth.   But the cervical (near the gums)  portion always appeared darker.  In-office whitening can produce an intial lift in color due to the dessication (drying out) of the teeth, but as soon as the teeth  re-hydrate with saliva, the "results" are lost.  Save your money on bleaching and look into veneers.  A skilled dentist can mask out the darker color of the underlying tooth structure and give you a beautiful, natural-looking smile.  Best of luck on your quest.

Tetracycline staining is tough to whiten...

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If you want perfectly white teeth then veneers are your only option. I've tried many different brands of teeth bleaching agents and none of them totally remove the tet. stain...Coverage is usually the answer.

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist

Tetracycline Stains are Permanent

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Unfortunately, tetracycline stains are not affected by professional whitening systems.  Whitening products are great for removing extrinsic stains caused by smoking and some foods.  However, tetracycline stains are intrinsic stains; they became embedded within the tooth when the tooth was developing.  You may want to consider veneers on front teeth to cover these stains.  Best, Dr. Elizabeth Jahanian

Elizabeth Jahanian, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.