Tetracycline teeth: Changes in the form of spots that appear on the dentition elements’ enamel result from various pathological processes, including those developing against the background of the systematic use of a specific category of drugs. Before resorting to a whitening method that allows you to restore a natural shade, you must undergo a full course of treatment, including taking appropriate medications, antibiotics and therapeutic procedures. Otherwise, the disease will again feel itself after a short period, and all the efforts made will be in vain. How are the differential diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of tetracycline teeth carried out, what does this mean, and what is such staining in symptoms?

Tetracycline teeth

General view

According to the characters used in professional dentistry, the phenomenon under consideration is a persistent discoloration, the occurrence of which is caused by the deposition of a complex compound of calcium and tetracycline in the hard dental tissue against the background of a violation of the processes of natural histogenesis. Practice shows that in recent years, such a diagnosis is not so common. The conclusion based on the results of the preliminary examination, fixing the presence of systemic hypoplasia, is made in approximately 8-10% of cases of non-carious lesions.

The predisposition to the formation and intensity of staining of tetracycline teeth in children does not depend on gender – statistics confirm that both boys and girls are equally susceptible to the disease. Given the persistence of the pathological condition, characterized by a pronounced change in the shade of the enamel, the systematic use of antibiotics by representatives of the younger age group, as well as by pregnant women, is possible only if absolutely necessary.

As for the origin of the anomaly, it is by its nature the result of a prolonged influence exerted on the body by tetracycline at the stage of formation and development of the tissues of the jaw region. Based on the specifics of the transformations, the shade of the enamel coating can acquire a yellowish, brown, green, or gray color, which manifests itself both in separate stripes and in the form of uneven spots. More often than others, localization occurs in areas with a changed relief, as well as in the cervical zone, however, in general, the symptoms are rather chaotic and can spread to the deep layers of the dental structure.

Causes of Tetracycline Teeth Staining

The factor causing the pathological condition is an excessive accumulation in the body of side elements that are part of the antibiotics of the corresponding pharmaceutical group and enter the stage of tissue formation and mineralization. The period of increased vulnerability is quite long and covers both the phase of pregnancy (allowing the growth of colored milk elements of the dentition) and the first years of a child’s life. The likelihood of manifestation, according to studies, remains until the age of twelve, so the negative effect of tetracycline on teeth can also affect the stage of mixed dentition. In some cases, a later manifestation is also observed, provoked by the individual characteristics of the organism, and an exhaustive medical characteristic has not yet been disclosed. Allergic reactions can act as a trigger,

In dental practice, there are also precedents for diagnosing pathology already in adulthood. Technically, a change in the color of tetracycline teeth is possible on the surface of the indigenous “eights”, the eruption of which is completed after the main set is fully formed. Spots are localized on the surface of crowns and root parts and, as a rule, are the result of prolonged use of tetracycline-based drugs recommended in the treatment of epidermal pathologies and skin allergies.

Possible negative consequences

In cases where the disease affects the frontal elements of the dentition, which form a smile zone that is noticeable when communicating with others, patients experience obvious psychological inconvenience caused by a violation of aesthetic perception. It should be noted that tetracycline teeth in a child are not a prerequisite for more intensive development of caries or other diseases that can damage the structure of enamel or adjacent tissues.

However, the deviation itself indicates the redundancy of antibiotics taken, which requires prompt adjustments to the treatment plan. In addition, with increased vulnerability, hue changes can be critical, and developmental processes can be disrupted, manifesting in the form of hypoplasia, which makes recovery difficult. Deviations can be avoided by timely diagnostics using professional equipment and modern examination methods. It is enough to make an appointment with the specialists of Dentika dental centers in order to identify and stop the pathological condition in advance.

tetracycline teeth pictures

Symptoms of tetracycline teeth

A characteristic symptomatology characteristic of the disease under consideration is a change in the shade of the cervical region of the dentition element. Such localization is determined by the sequence of formation during uterine development. Tetracycline also accumulates in tissue folds and on the lateral areas, and the distribution can be uniform, with one shade, or chaotic – appearing as separate asymmetric spots.

The color range of problem areas varies from yellow to brown, less often it is expressed in orange or gray. The degree of damage to the structure depends on how much of the drug is accumulated in solid tissues. With a small lesion, there is a slight change in the shade of the enamel coating, while a large lesion entails a transformation of the entire surface of the crown. It should be noted that tetracycline teeth have a painful color, but at the same time, they do not become more sensitive or vulnerable to external factors, including temperature changes and mechanical stresses that occur during the chewing process.

How to remove dark and black plaque and the causes of blackness on the teeth

The degree of pigmentation of the enamel coating is determined by the duration of the presence of the element in the tissue structure. In accordance with the current classification, the following variants of manifestation are distinguished:


  • Indistinct, uniform color change
  • Full-color conversion
  • Partial discoloration in the cervical region


  • It is characterized by a change in color to brown, gray, or yellow, without delineated spots or structural changes. Eliminated by the technique of surface or “office” bleaching – provided there are no medical contraindications.
  • Requires deep correction covering the structure of internal tissues
  • Its presence necessitates complex medical intervention, including the installation of prosthetic elements.

Based on the indications of the clinical picture, a treatment method is determined, the implementation of which should be monitored by a qualified specialist.

Features of tetracycline coloration

According to the results of the study of the pathological condition, staining of the teeth after tetracycline is a deep tissue pigmentation covering the hard dental layers. The change in shade can spread to the entire outer part as a whole, or be localized in separate parts of the crown. In this case, the color changes against the background of light exposure, eating foods containing persistent and aggressive dyes, as well as the influence of other factors, some of which are determined by the individual characteristics of the patient’s body. The standard form of manifestation is the appearance of a girdle transverse band that differs in color, darkening as it approaches the region of the root neck.

Within the framework of scientific doctrine, the position prevailed for a long time, according to which tetracycline staining belonged to the category of purely childhood diseases, manifested in patients of a younger age group against the background of drug influence. However, as practice shows, pathology may well manifest itself at an older age – for example, as one of the side effects of prolonged use of the drug Minomycin, prescribed as a remedy for the treatment and prevention of acne.

Diagnosis of a pathological condition

The basis for the diagnosis is the results of the examination, the study of anamnesis data, as well as a general examination conducted in a clinical setting. Before treating tetracycline teeth, it is necessary to differentiate the disease from other forms of damage to the hard dental structure that have similar symptoms. These pathologies include:

  • Fluorosis and dysplasia.
  • A hemolytic disease that manifests itself in newborns.
  • Discoloration against the background of the conflict of the Rh factor.
  • Imperfect amelogenesis;
  • Syndrome of Stanton-Kadelon.

The orthopantomogram does not give a clear picture that allows us to draw a conclusion about the causes of the deviation. The diagnostic examination helps to identify the presence of rough areas and symptoms characteristic of hypoplasia but is not accompanied by a pronounced painful reaction. In this regard, during the examination, the specialists of the Dentika dental centers use the ultraviolet radiation spectrum, in which the areas affected by tetracycline acquire a characteristic fluorescent glow. The more intense it is, the more the drug is accumulated in the tissue structure. Such a technique guarantees the accuracy of a preliminary diagnosis since fluorescence is not observed in other pathological processes and manifestations. Thus, it is not difficult to differentiate the disease in the clinical setting.

Treatment of tetracycline teeth

Based on the fact that an increased concentration of the drug primarily provokes a lack of development of the elements of the dentition, the therapeutic course necessary to eliminate the resulting consequences is forced to be long and varied. The key tasks of therapy are the strengthening of crowns and the restoration of the natural shade of the enamel coating. Consider the main stages of the cycle, characteristic of most diagnosed cases.

Treatment of tetracycline teeth

Elimination of caries

The procedure of sanitation of the oral cavity is a prerequisite for preparing for treatment. The presence of carious foci increases the risk of tissue infection, as well as the spread of the disease to adjacent elements, which subsequently leads to complications. The treatment involves the removal of necrotic tissue, as well as filling the cavities.

Professional plaque cleaning

Prevents further formation of stony deposits and creates optimal conditions for the upcoming whitening. The structure formed by bacteria and food particles deposited on the surface of the enamel gradually corrodes the protective coating, provoking the emergence of new diseases. Cleaning, for which ultrasonic or mechanical equipment is used, not only contributes to the improvement of the oral cavity but also brightens teeth by several tonnes.


Insufficient content of minerals in the tissues, especially during the formation period, leads to dental problems. For strengthening, calcium, fluorine, and phosphorus are used and supplied to the structure through applications or electrophoresis. With minimal damage, it is possible to carry out the procedure at home.

Polishing and fluoride coating

Pastes containing abrasive trace elements are used as a polishing agent. The formation of a smooth surface slows down the formation of plaque and is also recommended before installing veneers and lumineers. Fluorine varnish increases hardness and reduces the loss of mineral trace elements in the future, forming a film that prevents the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

Enamel whitening

The main stage, preparation for which involves the consistent implementation of the above procedures. To restore the natural whiteness of the enamel, various methods allow – the choice is determined by the degree of damage and penetration of the pigment into the dental tissues. A preliminary examination, taking into account the results of anamnesis and excluding possible medical contraindications, allows you to determine the most suitable remedy. Popular options are the use of a gel activated with a special lamp, as well as the wearing of individual caps, the schedule of which depends on the recommendations of the doctor.

Veneers or Lumineers

Damage to the cervical region, as well as significant pigmentation or deformation of problem units, become the basis for the use of an alternative restoration technique. The installation of micro prostheses – thin ceramic or composite overlays that repeat the shape of the crown – allows you to strengthen the structure, restore the aesthetic appeal, and form the “perfect smile” that many patients strive for. At the same time, it should be taken into account that such prosthetics are more expensive than therapeutic restoration, so it is better to consult a doctor at the first sign of deviations from the norm.

Prevention of tetracycline teeth

Minimizing the likelihood of the formation of the anomaly in question allows compliance with basic medical recommendations. Particular care should be taken with the prescribed drugs of the antibiotic group, especially when it comes to the period of pregnancy, or to patients of a younger age group. In case of urgent need, the course is reduced to a minimum, which avoids the volume accumulation of drugs in the tissue structure.


Most dental problems have several solutions, the choice between which depends on the indications of the clinical picture. For the treatment of tetracycline teeth, photo- and composite polymers, whitening gels, and pastes, as well as other means that restore the natural shade of the enamel coating are used.