Intrinsic tooth discoloration, which affects the inner structures of the tooth, aren't easy to whiten. Therefore, it's advisable to prevent this form of discoloration before it begins. Medication is one of the causes of intrinsic discoloration; some drugs, such as tetracycline, discolor the dentin (inner tooth structure) permanently. Since this form of discoloration starts early in life, use these measures to prevent it in your kids:
Avoid the Offending Drugs during Pregnancy
The placental barrier separates the mother's and the fetus' blood circulation systems. However, this barrier is semi-permeable, meaning it lets some substances to flow through. Tetracycline is one of the substances that can flow through the placental barrier and reach the fetus.
If you take the drug while pregnant, it crosses the barrier and gets incorporated into the developing tooth structures of your unborn baby. This increases the risk that your baby's teeth will already be stained by the time they come up.
Therefore, if you are pregnant, it is best to avoid using drugs that discolor teeth. Inform all your doctors of your pregnancy so they can prescribe alternative drugs that will not affect your unborn baby's teeth.
Avoid Use During Mineralization
Teeth development begins in the womb, but it continues well into childhood. Therefore, use of medications that can induce teeth coloration should be avoided in early childhood, up to about eight years of age. During this time, kids' teeth mineralize (harden), and chemicals that can discolor the teeth should be avoided.
Avoid Prolonged Use
Although intrinsic teeth discoloration is more pronounced in early childhood, it can occur it can occur at later ages after prolonged use of the offending drugs. A one-time usage of the stain-causing medication may not present much of a problem, but the more your kids use the drugs, the higher their chances of teeth staining.
Reducing the dosage of the offending drug may also work in some cases. For example, some evidence shows that lowering the dosage of minocycline, a drug that also stains the teeth, to less than 100mg also helps to prevent staining. Of course, you shouldn't tinker with drug dosage without the doctor's advice; if you are worried about teeth staining, talk to the doctor to see what can be done.
For those who already have intrinsic teeth staining, all is not lost. If the stains are minimal, then prolonged bleaching may reduce their severity. Otherwise, the use of dental veneers and bonding are advisable to cover up the stains. Talk to your child's dentist for advice on which treatment is best for their case.
For help from a dentist, contact an office such as Stone & Johnson Dental Group.