I have tetracycline stains. I’m finally in a financial position where I can do something about them. I’ve seen two dentists thus far. Both gave me vastly different suggestions. I’m hoping you’ll break the tie. First, I went to my family dentist. He recommended I get porcelain crowns to cover the stains. He’s done a crown for me in the past and I liked it. Though, this one was made to match the stains. Next, I saw a cosmetic dentist. He suggested I get porcelain veneers. They’re much more expensive, but I assume are more likely to give a pretty smile. Do you know which procedure would be a better solution?
I’m glad you wrote. Tetracycline stains are some of the more difficult things to treat. I’m going to have you switch gears just a smidge. While I think porcelain veneers will be a better idea than porcelain crowns for reasons I’ll explain in a moment, more important than what procedure is what dentist.
Porcelain Crowns Versus Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain crowns require a much more aggressive treatment than veneers. They require the dentist to grind down a great deal of healthy tooth structure. Plus, let’s say a few years from now you meet a top-of-the-line cosmetic dentist. It will be too late to get porcelain veneers. Once your teeth are ground down, you can’t undo that and switch to porcelain veneers. You will always have to have crowns.
A good thing to consider is why your dentist is suggesting a much more aggressive treatment than is necessary. Most dentists will suggest the least invasive treatment so as to preserve as much healthy tooth structure as possible. The one obvious reason he’d do that is he is more comfortable with crowns, which translates to not a lot of cosmetic dentistry training. I think even if you went with the porcelain crowns you wouldn’t be happy with the results.
Now, let’s discuss the cosmetic dentist who suggested porcelain veneers. While he’s suggested a good procedure, how do you know if he’s a skilled and artistic cosmetic dentist? Cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty so every general dentist can just call themselves a cosmetic dentist regardless of their skill level.
Choosing a Cosmetic Dentist
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recognized the problem which patients face in finding legitimately skilled practitioners. To help, they started an accreditation program. This tests both the technical skill and artistry. They have to pass stringent exams, both oral and written. In addition to that, they have to show a series of cosmetic procedures they’ve completed in order to demonstrate their artistry.
Those who pass reach what is known as accreditation level. Only about 1% of dentists in the world reach this level. This is the type of dentist you want to take care of your tetracycline stains. Not only are they incredibly skilled, but almost all of them have a beautiful smile guarantee.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.