Tooth whitening has become one of, if not the most popular way to improve the look of one’s smile. The phenomenon is not only the preferred cosmetic procedure among adults but it has also caught on among the pre-teen and teenage population. Teenagers wanting to have their teeth whitened before prom is moving up the ranks to place right alongside asking to go to a tanning salon.
The attraction may have something to do with advertising campaigns that tell the kids that a pretty smile will improve their social life and that the brighter their teeth are the better. The creators of these targeted crusades know how important it is for young people to earn the approval of their peers. If “everybody is doing it” your teenager will want to do it too.
The truth is that a healthy smile is an asset, but pediatric dentists are concerned with how some adolescents are going about achieving it. There are various types of over the counter whitening kits available on the market today, but parental and dental supervision is highly recommended. Whitening toothpastes are a safer alternative since they are not meant to change the natural color of the teeth, just to enhance it.
Teeth that have undergone a whitening process tend to be more sensitive. The sensitivity will be felt to a lesser degree if the pulp is completely developed. Therefore, the Academy of General Dentistry recommends that children wait until they are at least 14 years of age to have a whitening procedure performed. Even then it is best to have it done by a pediatric dentist.
Before your teenager opts to have his teeth whitened there are things you can do to help him avoid the staining and discoloration from happening in the first place. He should cut down on his consumption of coffee, tea and colas which are all known contributors. Keeping his teeth clean by brushing and flossing twice a day and sticking to an overall healthy diet will help to give him a naturally bright smile.
Dr. Patterson heads up the dental team at Epic Dentistry for Kids in Aurora. Call the offices @ 303-367-1502.