“But everyone’s doing it!” Your teen blurts this out in frustration, after failing to reason/charm/cajole her way to getting your permission (and money) to get teeth whitening treatment.
Not for everyone
In recent years, teeth whitening has turned into a multimillion-dollar industry. And from the looks of it, there are no signs of this trend making a sudden stop.
It’s easy to understand why. After all, who doesn’t want to get gleaming white teeth? However, teeth whitening is not for everyone.
In order to become a good candidate for teeth whitening, there are a few important factors that need to be considered.
If you (or your teen) is suffering from dental conditions like gum recession, teeth and gum sensitivity, or allergy to peroxide, your Laurich dentist cannot recommend teeth whitening.
Gum disease/worn enamel
Ideal candidates for teeth whitening should have healthy teeth and gums. If the patient has worn enamel, gum disease, cavities or exposed roots, your Laurich dentist may recommend holding off on teeth whitening until these conditions are addressed.
Teens and parents should know that the ingredients used in whitening solutions can seep into decayed teeth and the underlying structure beneath these, which can lead to tooth sensitivity.
Additionally, if a patient has exposed tooth roots, the whitening agents cannot change the color of these because of the absence of an enamel layer.
Patients with restorations like fillings and crowns are also deemed to be bad candidates for teeth whitening.
Unlike natural teeth, dental restorations do not change their color and become brighter/whiter.
If the patient insists on teeth whitening, there will be a mismatch in color between the natural teeth and the restorations.
Teeth whitening can be done before the fabrication and placement of fillings, crowns, veneers and bondings.
Patients who wish to undergo teeth whitening should be older than 14. Why?
Not just yet
Quite simply, teens and teeth whitening are not a good combination.
One of the key reasons why it is inadvisable for teens (or even younger kids) to undergo teeth whitening is because their teeth are still developing.
Between the ages of 12 and 13, all of your kid’s permanent teeth should have erupted. But at this stage, your teen’s permanent teeth are not yet fully developed. It will take about two years for the pulp in those teeth to mature and for the enamel of those teeth to be fully calcified.
If your teen insists on undergoing teeth whitening below the recommended age, there are a few risks that he or she may face.
Chief of these risks is severe teeth sensitivity. Additionally, teeth whitening done on the teeth of teens may result in uneven results.
Most dentists will not perform teeth whitening on teens below the age of 14 while some will ask their patients to wait until they are 16 years old.
The only exception to this is when a patient’s baby teeth have become severely discolored.
If your teen insists on getting his or her teeth whitened, ask him or her to wait out for a few more years.