Children and adolescents are susceptible to the same dental problems as adults, and that includes tooth discoloration. While teeth whitening isn’t something that often comes to mind when we think of children’s dentistry, parents need to know that options are available to help children and teens with discoloration or yellowing.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe for Children and Teens?
According to the American Association of Children’s Dentistry (AAPD), parents should delay tooth whitening until a child’s permanent teeth have grown in whenever possible. The enamel on baby teeth is thinner, which increases the risk of adverse reactions to the whitening process.
For most teens, the permanent teeth will grow in by around age 14. Of course, exceptions can be made if necessary, provided an experienced children’s dentist applies the whitening.
Is it Possible to Whiten My Child’s Teeth if They’re Under 14?
There are instances of younger children experiencing severe tooth discoloration. Often, this can be a result of sugary beverages, injuries to the teeth, or a side effect of braces.
In addition, a dentist may consider offering whitening services when a younger child’s mental health is affected by tooth discoloration. In these cases, parents should be advised of the associated risks so they can make a decision that’s in the best interest of their child.
Teeth Whitening Methods
There are several options for whitening teeth, including at-home whitening kits and professional treatments performed at your dental office. While both methods typically use hydrogen peroxide to bleach the teeth, treatments offered by your trained children’s dentist are generally more effective, thanks to a higher concentration of bleaching agents.
Choosing the Right Teeth Whitening Treatment
When considering teen teeth whitening or even whitening for a younger child, it’s advisable to opt for dentist-provided whitening treatments to ensure that the whitening is safe, even, and effective. An experienced children’s dentist can provide your teen with a whitening tray that’s custom-fitted to their mouth, ensuring the process is comfortable for them. Additionally, whitening treatments from your dentist will include the right concentration of bleaching agents for your child’s age and particular needs, ensuring their teeth aren’t over-bleached.
The Risks of Whitening Your Child’s Teeth
According to the American Dental Association, the risks of whitening are typically minor. They include mild to moderate tooth sensitivity, which occurs in up to two-thirds of patients who receive whitening treatments, as well as gingival irritation. In most cases, these adverse side effects resolve on their own with time; however, some patients may experience long-term tooth sensitivity. These risks are the same in children and adults.
When performing whitening on baby teeth, the risk of increased and long-term tooth sensitivity is higher. As such, it’s best to wait until the child is at least 14 years of age before scheduling a whitening visit with your dentist.
Children’s Teeth Whitening Appointments
If your child or teen is experiencing tooth discoloration, teeth whitening may be an option. While it’s best to wait until your child’s adult teeth have grown in, which is usually by age 14, you can discuss teeth whitening treatment options with your dentist to determine the best course of action for your child. Schedule an appointment with our dentist today to determine the best option for your child.