NEW YORK (AP ) _ Newsweek artificially whitened the teeth of septuplet mom Bobbi McCaughey for its cover, but the magazine was not trying to ``mislead the public or do any inappropriate dental work,'' a spokeswoman said today.

``Our technicians made an effort to lighten a very dark area on the cover photo,'' Karen Wheeler said. She said the photograph was ``retouched'' using a computer.

The cover shot shows Mrs. McCaughey, who gave birth to septuplets last Wednesday, leaning against her husband and smiling. Her teeth appear straighter and whiter than in a similar cover photograph published by Newsweek's rival, Time.

Newsweek's technicians ``perhaps reconstructed too much,'' Ms. Wheeler said. ``But it was not done to mislead the public or to do any inappropriate dental work.''

In 1994, Time ended up in the hot seat after electronically darkening a photo of O.J. Simpson.

Wheeler said Newsweek does not routinely retouch photos.

``This was out of the ordinary,'' she said.