LINCOLNTON, N.C. - Gary Surgeon of Lincolnton, claims he's never been able to smile because the drug company, Pfizer, ruined his teeth.
"Every dentist I've ever been to has told me as soon as they see my teeth that I have Tetracycline stained teeth," said Surgeon.
Surgeon took Tetracycline as toddler to treat pneumonia but said the medicine left him with life-long side effects.
Surgeon has a photo album full of pictures that show a young boy with big insecurities and who never revealed his teeth.
"Back when I was in school, some kids would tease me about it and say, ‘Why are your teeth gray? Don't you brush your teeth?’" he said.
The issue still bothers Surgeon as an adult.
"There are certain jobs that I wouldn't apply for if I have to interact with a lot of people," Surgeon said.
Surgeon recently started a petition on www.change.org.
He wants the drug maker, Pfizer, to pay for a cosmetic fix like veneers that could cost thousands of dollars.
In days, the petition has gained support of signatures from people across the world.
Pfizer admitted the antibiotic can stain patients' teeth but spokeswoman Joan Campion called Surgeon's petition without merit.
"It is up to patients and their prescribing physicians to discuss the risks and benefits of tetracycline, or any prescription medications, and up to their prescribing physician to exercise his or her medical judgment in deciding whether to prescribe this product to patients," Campion said.