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Tetracycline Staining: Managing Patient Expectations

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Tetracycline Staining: Managing Patient Expectations

In the past, the only solution for patients with tetracycline stained teeth was expensive restorations that required aggressive prep. That’s no longer the case. The KöR Ultra-T whitening system has changed all that. The system was designed specifically to treat tetracycline staining. Its 13% Hydremide Peroxide gel jump-starts whitening by enhancing the oxygenation phase of the process. That means at-home, nighttime whitening is immediately more effective. And with the specific KöR-Seal Whitening Trays, nighttime whitening will be “active” for a full 6+ hours, instead of only 20 to 35 minutes shown with conventional whitening trays.

However, to ensure success, patients must follow all instructions. For that to happen, you’ll need to manage their expectations and provide them with all of the information they need to do their part.

Dr. Rod Kurthy, whitening science expert and founder of KöR Whitening, provides an outline  to help you help your patients with tetracycline stains achieve whitening success. Before accepting these patients for treatment, Dr. Kurthy suggests having a frank conversation with them that covers these points, following the underpromise/overdeliver philosophy:

•Explain that tetracycline cases are impossible to predict, so patients should expect significant improvement, but often not perfection. Remind them that significant improvement really is somewhat of a miracle, given that previously, the only option was costly and invasive restorative treatment.

•Describe the entire protocol so they understand what’s involved:

  • •In-office conditioning visit where no visual improvement will be seen
  • •Typically 8 weeks of at-home whitening, but not less than 6 weeks (Dr. Kurthy recommends seeing patients every couple of weeks during this part of the protocol to check progress and provide encouragement)
  • •Even if significant improvement is seen quickly (which happens in some cases), the full protocol must be followed or the results will regress
  • •In-office whitening visit, which may initially provide very white results that will “settle down” and look more natural over the following days and weeks
  • •From 10 to 14 at-home whitening nights after the in-office visit to help “set” the new whiteness.

•Recommend following the above steps with at-home tapered whitening using Accelerated Maintenance.

•Explain that in some cases, portions of stain may partially remain. If these are a concern (and most frequently they are not) let patients know they can be treated with cosmetic bonding or porcelain veneers at an additional cost.

After reviewing these steps, you may think to yourself, “My patients won’t want to whiten for that long.” However, remember that we’re talking about patients with tetracycline stains who’ve been embarrassed to smile or even talk for most of their lives. These patients see this treatment as a miracle, not an obstacle.

Patients want you to be honest with them. If you’re not, they may not adhere to the protocol and they may have expectations that you’ll never be able to meet. Treating tetracycline-stained teeth is a team effort that requires you and your patients to be on the same page. The result will be a satisfied patient who has nothing but good things to say about you and your practice.

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