Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727

Have you had unsightly brown or gray stains on your teeth for as long as you can remember? You may have been given an antibiotic called tetracycline as a child. This antibiotic came into use in the 1950s and was prescribed to patients with acne, Lyme disease, malaria, and numerous other ailments.

Because tetracycline causes serious tooth staining and other side effects, physicians generally don't prescribe tetracycline to children and pregnant women now. However, this was not always the case — and physicians in countries other than the U.S. may still prescribe tetracycline to children and pregnant women.

Here's what you need to know as someone with tooth staining potentially caused by tetracycline.

How Does Tetracycline Stain Teeth?

Most tooth stains, like those caused by coffee or tea, occur on the surface of the enamel. Tetracycline staining is quite different. If you take tetracycline while your teeth are laying down minerals, the medication bonds to the calcium within your tooth structure. Initially, this gives your teeth a fluorescent yellow color, and once they're exposed to light, they become brown or gray.

Because the teeth are mineralized during childhood, tetracycline causes staining if taken by children under the age of 10. You can also develop staining if your mother takes this medication during the second or third trimester.

Must You Avoid Tetracycline to Prevent Additional Staining?

People with tetracycline staining often assume they should avoid this antibiotic to keep their stains from getting any worse. However, as an adult, your teeth are no longer accumulating new minerals. As such, you can safely take tetracycline as an adult, if it is prescribed by your doctor, without worrying about new stains developing.

Are Tetracycline-Stained Teeth Weak?

In most patients, the teeth are simply discolored — they are still healthy and structurally sound. However, in the most severe cases, the teeth may actually have weak enamel and be prone to cracking.

If you suspect you have tetracycline staining on your teeth, your dentist may take x-rays and examine your teeth closely to see how badly they have been affected. 

Will Tooth Whitening Remove the Stains?

Frustratingly, tooth stains caused by tetracycline do not respond to common tooth whitening procedures or to products like whitening toothpaste and whitening strips. Unlike stains caused by coffee and plaque, which sit on the surface of the teeth and can be bleached away, the stains caused by tetracycline are intrinsic to the tooth. Your tooth is brown or gray — it's not just a stain sitting on top.

Conventional whitening treatments won't work because they can't penetrate that deep into the tooth or change its composition. You may do more harm than good by attempting to remove the stains with vigorous brushing or strong whitening products.

How Can You Get Rid of Tetracycline Stains?

Since there's no good way to remove the stains from your teeth, your best bet is to cover the stains up. Your dentist may recommend either veneers or crowns.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers work well for most patients with tetracycline staining. They are thin pieces of porcelain that are cemented to the fronts of your teeth.

The process of getting veneers is rather simple and painless; you may not even need anesthesia. Your teeth may be a little sensitive after having veneers applied, however.


If your stains are really dark, or if your teeth have been structurally weakened by tetracycline, your dentist may recommend porcelain crowns rather than veneers. Crowns cover the entire tooth — they're like a cap that is placed over the tooth. Not only do they camouflage stains, but they also protect the tooth from chips, decay, and other damage.

If you think your brown or gray tooth stains may be caused by previous tetracycline use, make an appointment with the dentists at Airport Road Dental Associates, PC. We offer veneers and crowns to give you the white, bright smile you've always dreamed of.

No one wants to get a tooth extracted, but in some cases, doing so can be the best way to improve the overall health of your smile. While many procedures can save teeth or strengthen them, if these procedures don't work or if you aren't a good candidate for them, extraction may be necessary. Check out these five common reasons a tooth may need to be pulled.

1. It's Severely Damaged

The most obvious reason to extract a tooth is severe damage. If the tooth has a few cracks or chips, a crown may be enough to protect and strengthen it (in some cases, you may also need root canal therapy, depending on the extent of the damage). Sometimes, even if a large portion of tooth has been lost, the dentist may be able to rebuild the tooth, but this may be best for incisors only.

If the tooth has major damage — for example, if it broke off at the gum line — rebuilding the tooth may be impossible or a waste of time and money. The immense pressure your teeth experience when chewing will destroy the rebuilt tooth. In this case, your best choice is to remove the tooth and choose a replacement option.

2. It Didn't Fully Erupt

The term erupting refers to when teeth break through the gum line. Healthy teeth should completely erupt so that the entire tooth's crown is visible. Many teeth, however, don't fully erupt for various reasons. One common reason is there simply isn't enough room. This is common with wisdom teeth, which is why most patients have them removed.

Another reason a tooth may not fully erupt is that it is growing at an angle. These teeth are known as impacted teeth. Another problem with impacted teeth is they may grow into other teeth. Any tooth that doesn’t fully erupt is at greater risk of infection.

3. It's Underdeveloped

In some cases, your tooth doesn't fully develop, resulting in a small partial tooth or a tooth with minimal enamel. Underdeveloped teeth usually need to be removed because they are in the way. Plus, many underdeveloped teeth cannot fully erupt, making them more likely to become infected or develop a cyst.

Underdeveloped teeth can happen with normal primary and secondary teeth, and they can also happen if you have supernumerary teeth. Supernumerary teeth are extra teeth which start growing after your permanent teeth have developed, which can cause damage.

4. It Prevents a Straight Smile

Sometimes, a completely healthy tooth needs to be removed in order to improve the overall appearance of the smile. This is more common in adults because the palate is already fixed into position. Therefore, the only way to make more room for teeth to straighten is to remove some teeth. For children, expanders can be used to widen the palate.

If you don't have some teeth extracted before getting braces and you have limited space in your mouth, your smile may still not look great after treatment. Teeth may be rotated or overcrowded because of the limited space. Simply removing a few teeth actually makes your finished smile look more natural and beautiful.

5. It Keeps Getting Infected

Ideally, if you get a tooth infection, you get root canal therapy because it eliminates the infection without destroying the tooth. However, some people can't afford root canal therapy, especially if it isn't covered by their dental insurance or if they don't have dental insurance. In this case, an extraction may be necessary to treat the infection.

Even if you choose root canal treatment, however, the tooth can get infected again. If this happens, the tooth roots may have underlying damage, and if the dentist can't correct the problem, extraction may be the only way to prevent future infection and complications.

At Airport Road Dental Associations, we'll do everything we can to protect, strengthen, and improve your smile, including performing an extraction. While extractions aren't ideal, they can be the best way to save your smile. For more information about extraction, contact us today.

Although temporary, your child's baby teeth are always important to take care of. For example, baby teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. Cavities in baby teeth can cause a host of problems, so parents should be proactive in caring for the cavities. One of the main sources of cavities in small children's baby teeth actually comes from baby bottles.

Also known as baby bottle tooth decay, these cavities that form from bottle overuse can damage the teeth and prevent adult teeth from properly forming. If you have a baby or young child who still drinks from a bottle, know about the risk of decay and learn what you can do to prevent this from happening.

What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental disease that affects young children. You generally find this decay on the top front teeth. This decay also often affects other teeth. The decay occurs in this primary area because of consistent formula, juice, or another substance containing sugar on the teeth. The decay is especially prevalent in children who go to bed with a bottle as a soothing mechanism.

When a child goes to sleep with a bottle, parents do not have an opportunity to clean the teeth before the child is asleep. The liquid then sits on the teeth for a long time. Over time, decay can occur on the teeth where the liquid primarily touches.

How Can You Tell If the Teeth Have Decay?

If you notice any spots or discoloration of the teeth and the color does not come off the teeth during brushing, chances are the child has decay. Early indicators are light or white spots on the teeth. As time goes on, the discoloration will become darker brown or black if the decay does not receive attention.

Other symptoms include swollen or bleeding gums, poor breath, and fever from the infection. If any of the more severe symptoms occur, get your child to the dentist as soon as possible. Without treatment, your child could need significant restoration work or could lose the teeth altogether.

How Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

The best way to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is to avoid using a bottle for long periods. If your child needs to eat before bedtime, feed and then immediately brush the teeth. If the bottle at bedtime is a source of comfort for your child, consider implementing new soothing techniques so you can take the bottle away.

Another easy way to prevent the decay is good oral hygiene. Brush your child's teeth after every meal and after each bottle. Use a child's toothpaste and a small toothbrush, or you can simply wipe the teeth with a clean wet cloth.

Also, only use bottles for formula or breast milk. If your child drinks milk, juice, or water, offer these liquids in a sippy cup. Not only will a cup prevent the liquid sitting on the teeth, but cup use will also help get your child away from the bottle once they no longer need it for feeding.

How Do You Treat Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

To treating the decay, this will depend on how severe the problem is. Treatment will also depend on your child's age. The dentist may want to fill the cavities or pull the tooth if the decay is severe. Other dentists may leave the affected teeth alone if the decay is not severe and the tooth will soon fall out. You and your dentist will need to work together to figure out what is best for your child.

Prevention is the best medicine when dealing with decay. If you have concerns your child may have baby bottle tooth decay, please contact us at Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for an appointment.

Candies such as chocolate, gummies, and other sweets aren't the only culprits behind dental decay and other oral issues. Along with what your child eats, what they drink can also impact their overall mouth health. Take a look at the beverages that they should consider avoiding and the ones to try.

Drinks to Avoid

From sugar-heavy beverages that lead to cavities to highly acidic drinks that erode dental enamel, remove the risks by banning specific beverages and increase your child's overall oral health. Never give a bottle at nap time or bed time with anything other than water.  The drink will lay on the teeth during sleep and promote decay development.  If you're not sure what your child should or shouldn't drink, these are options to avoid:

  • Fruit juices. Fruit juices impact your child's teeth in two different ways. The high sugar content can lead to cavities (especially if your child drinks the juice from a bottle or a sippy cup). Acidic juices, such as orange or cranberry, can also erode enamel and leave your child with yellow, sensitive teeth.
  • Sodas. Like fruit juices, soda presents two primary challenges to your child's dental health. They also contain cavity-causing sugars and tend to be acidic. This combination can result in serious dental decay and discoloration.
  • Sports drinks. These beverages may seem healthy, but they're packed with sugars that can damage your child's teeth. Even though hydration is necessary (especially during or after an illness or sports play), sports drinks are not the way to go.
  • Iced tea. Ice tea products can be unhealthy on several different levels. The caffeine in these beverages can negatively affect your child's health. From a dental perspective, these dark drinks contain tannins that can stain your child's teeth. Iced tea often comes in the sweetened form. This can add to the cavity-causing potential.

Even though these beverages can cause serious issues for your child's dental health, a sip on special occasions or a one-time treat shouldn't be out of the question. Damage from these types of drinks takes time and consistency.

Drinks to Try

While avoiding sugary, acidic, and staining drinks can help your child's healthy mouth, you should add in other beverages that have proven to be beneficial. What should your child drink? Some of the top choices include:

  • Milk. For most children, milk is the drink of choice. Along with providing bone (and teeth) building calcium, the protein in milk can protect your child's dental enamel. The protective aspect of dairy is helpful in combatting acid-related enamel erosion.
  • Tap water. Even though bottled water isn't inherently bad for your child's teeth, it won't provide the added bonus of fluoride. The fluoride content of tap water makes it a superior drinking choice. Not only is it sugar- and acid-free, but the fluoride can strengthen your child's teeth and combat cavity formation.
  • Drinkable yogurt. Whether it comes pre-packaged or in a smoothie, yogurt provides milk-like dairy benefits. The key to choosing the right yogurt product is selecting one that is completely sugar-free. This means opting for a blend that has no added sugars, no fruit mixed in, and no added juice.
  • Breast milk. Your infant can get the majority of their nutritional needs met with this made-by-mom beverage. It can boost your baby's immune system (making dental infections less likely), help them to develop a better bite, and reduce the risks of bottle tooth decay.

Choose a healthy beverage for your child to maintain their dental health. Along with your drink selection strategy, your child should brush their teeth for two minutes at least two times a day (and after meals and drinks) and visit the dentist regularly.

Does your child need a dental check-up? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for more information.

Flossing should be part of your regular oral health, but many Americans ignore this dental hygiene practice. A third of Americans don't floss at all, and even more than that only floss when they remember to. Remember, children should begin flossing regularly starting at around age two.

When you floss your teeth, you take extra measures to remove plaque and food that is stuck between your teeth and under your gumline. These are areas that the typical toothbrush can't reach and, without proper flossing, these hard-to-clean oral spots become susceptible to bacteria and infection. To keep cavities and gum disease at bay, floss or use a dental pick or other flossing tool at least once a day.

Flossing is more than running a string between your teeth. Use this guide, along with the advice of your dental practitioner, to keep your teeth in quality condition.

Flossing also regularly does not eliminate the need for regular dental checkups, so schedule for a dental cleaning twice a year or as recommended by your dentist.


Floss Under Your Gums

Plaque easily builds up between your teeth and under your gumline. Plaque has bacteria that thrives on food and sugar in your mouth. Plaque releases acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. When you don't clean up plaque with regular brushing and flossing, the material turns into hard tartar, which inflames gums and leads to gum disease.

Flossing under your gumline reaches the plaque buildup before the material turns into hard to remove tartar. When you floss correctly, you also remove food particles that you can't see.

Hold your floss string taut between your fingers and swoop your floss into a curve, following your tooth's natural shape, when you reach your gumline. If your floss all but disappears into your gums, you've gone far enough. Be careful not to tear or snap your gums when flossing, especially near the base of your teeth.


Floss Correctly

Don't jerk back and forth when flossing your teeth. Gentle strokes or simple up and down movements of your floss will dislodge most particles between your teeth and in your gums. This quick flossing technique will remove more of the bacteria that makes your mouth unhealthy and will help keep your gums free of disease and deterioration.

Use a new piece of floss when yours starts to fray, tear, or has ample amount of debris on the string from flossing.

If your gums bleed or feel painful after flossing, there are a few reasons why.


You Have Gum Disease Already

Bleeding gums is a leading sign of gum disease. If your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, gum disease may be to blame.


You Don't Floss Enough

Irregular flossing makes your gums tender and can lead to pain following flossing. Floss every day, taking care to reach the back teeth especially, to help your gums get used to regular flossing.

Report sharp, stinging pains in single areas of your teeth to your dentist if you experience strange sensations only when flossing. Cavities or other signs of tooth decay may be to blame for the pain you feel.


Use Correct Floss

Floss comes in many varieties, including waxed or unwaxed nylon, Polytetrafluorethylene, or even a thick yarn-style material call Super Floss. If you wear braces, then thicker, more durable Super Floss is best for your needs. Polytetrafluorethylene floss is ideal for you if you constantly tear or wear out traditional nylon floss. 

Your dentist will show you the correct way to hold and use dental floss. Flossing correctly helps preserve your oral health. Call our dental professionals at Airport Road Dental Associates to keep your smile healthy and beautiful today.

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