If you have stains on your teeth that are deep within your teeth, they may have been caused by taking the drug tetracycline. This medication was developed in 1948, but it was not until years later that it was linked to stains on teeth. Here are four things you may want to know about tetracycline and tooth staining.
Who is at risk for developing tooth staining?
Tetracycline is a type of medication used to treat bacterial infections. It can safely be used with adults, but it can be damaging to a child's teeth. This is why doctors typically do not give kids tetracycline prescriptions if they are under the age of 8. Women that are pregnant should also avoid taking tetracycline as it may affect the teeth of their unborn children.
What does it look like on teeth?
When adults take this medication, it virtually has no effects on their teeth. It really only affects a person's teeth during the time period when teeth are developing and erupting. This is why it is not used often with children. If you took this medication as a child, you are probably dealing with staining on your teeth.
This staining can look grayish in color, or it can be yellow or brown. The older you get, the more discoloration you may notice.
Why does this happen?
When a child takes tetracycline during the production of his or her teeth, the chemicals in the prescription get into the tissues of the teeth. As this happens, calcium ions develop in the inner layers of the teeth. As teeth are exposed to light over the years, it brings out the calcification of the teeth. This is why the staining is primarily on the front teeth, rather than on the back teeth.
This type of staining is most commonly associated with tetracycline; however, there are a number of other medications that can also cause this to happen. This includes chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline.
Can it be fixed?
If you want to get rid of the stains and have whiter teeth, you can visit a cosmetic dentist. A cosmetic dentist can fix this problem by covering your teeth with veneers or bonding. Because the staining is intrinsic, it cannot be fixed with teeth whitening procedures.
If you are interested in learning more about tooth staining and ways to fix the problems you have, contact a cosmetic dentist like Robert Tartaglione DDS.