Hi everyone,

Tetracycline is a very powerful antibiotic. It’s so effective that many doctors have used it for decades.  Unfortunately, one of the more perplexing side effects is tooth discoloration.  In the past, moms given tetracycline during their pregnancy passed this discoloration onto their children.  The tooth discoloration affects a child in the early phases of tooth development and before permanent teeth form.  Today, doctors no longer prescribe tetracycline to women who are breastfeeding, pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant.  In addition, the discoloration can be produced if it is given to the child up to the age of 14 or so since that is the time when the permanent teeth are developing and mineralizing.


As a child gets older tetracycline staining can be quite embarrassing.  A discolored smile can lower self-confidence and self-esteem at any age.  It can have an impact both personally and professionally that those of us without this problem may not realize.  But tooth staining from tetracycline or other medications does not have to rule your decisions to be social and productive.

Teeth Stains from Medications is not a Life Sentence

There are many options for the removal of stained teeth caused by tetracycline or other medications.  One such method is bonding composite to the front of the teeth.  This is effective if a few teeth have surface staining.  In some cases even bleaching may work, although it usually takes longer than normal.  For people with deeper or darker stains, non-invasive porcelain veneers can improve a person’s appearance.  In some severe cases, dental crowns can provide a polished smile in the most natural shade of white.  Again, depending upon the condition of the teeth any of these options or a combination of them can give you the dazzling smile you’ve always wanted.

Other Drugs that can Stain Your Teeth

Tetracycline is not the only culprit in the drug world that can contribute to tooth staining.  Consider these drugs to do some damage to the color of your pearly whites as well.

  • Doxycycline is a tetracycline antibiotic that can also discolor teeth when given to children whose teeth are still developing.
  • Chlorhexidine antimicrobial mouth rinses used in mouth infections can stain teeth when used for a prolonged time, but this stain can be polished off.
  • Antihistamines, like Benadryl, and some high blood pressure medications can also discolor teeth, but this too can be polished off.

Porcelain Veneers

Perhaps the most popular procedure in tooth stain removal is porcelain veneers.  These micro-thin porcelain laminates not only look natural but require minimal additional procedures for upkeep.  Porcelain veneers are very strong and pretty.  You can bite into apples or celery and other foods just as would with your natural teeth.   Porcelain veneers also share the same optical properties as natural tooth enamel.  When light hits porcelain it doesn’t merely bounce off its surface.  It passes through beyond the surface of the tooth to the dentin and reflects back out giving your smile a natural appearance.  It can give you a genuine and beautiful smile that done correctly and meticulously can be absolutely gorgeous.

Besides receiving a big dose of confidence, many patients also feel a change in their attitude.  For instance they smile more often, and people are attracted to other people who smile because it puts them at ease.  And that kind of life change is something you really can’t put a price tag on. It simply radiates from the inside out and draws people in.

Another benefit is that porcelain veneers resist staining.  If you love coffee, tea or wine, this may be a big plus for you.  Since porcelain veneers are ceramic (a glass), stain from drinks or foods can easily be polished off.

How Porcelain Veneers Work

Placing porcelain veneers is a very simple but extremely technique sensitive procedure.  First, a very slight reduction is done to the surface of the teeth to make room for the veneers.  Shaving the tooth’s surface ever so slightly will allow the veneer to appear more natural against the lips and teeth.   Casts are then taken of the teeth to hand fabricate each individual veneer into the exact size, proportion and color for each individual tooth.  It requires the highly developed skills of a first rate ceramist.  Lastly, we lute the veneers to the surface of the teeth with a bonding agent and composite.  To be done properly, this requires the highly developed skills of a first rate dentist!

At Dr. Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD, PC, we have many options available for teeth whitening.  From custom bleaching trays to our Zoom in-office bleaching, we can guide you in making the right choices for you and your dental health.  It’s our pleasure to give you all the tools and instruction you need to keep your smile at its best.   Give us a call today at 248-356-8790 and find out how truly easy it is to get the smile of your dreams.

Until Next Time,

Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790