Teenagers tend to follow the crowd when it comes to the latest trends. Once a friend or classmate shows up to school flaunting a freshly whitened smile, it’s incredibly likely that your child will soon be coming to you asking for a DIY teeth whitening kit. As these types of at-home whitening products become more available, it’s vital to understand the risks and possible side effects of applying teeth whitening products to a developing smile.
In most cases, teeth whitening is safe for teens who are hoping to achieve a whiter smile. However, there are essential things to keep in mind when it comes to all teeth-whitening products.
Teeth Whitening Risks For Teens
Potential Dangers of most teeth whitening products such as whitening strips, gels, and pens increase for kids and teens due to the products utilizing hydrogen peroxide solution as a primary ingredient. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide in many of these whitening treatments is up to 13%, and as the concentration level raises, the higher the chance of adverse effects on young teeth. Primary teeth have thinner enamel and dentin and larger pulp (the living connective tissue inside the teeth) than permanent teeth do.
Teens can easily misuse teeth whitening products. The strong chemicals used as whitening agents can lead to:
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Dentin demineralization
- Variations in tooth coloration
- Damage to the gum tissue
- Injured tooth or pulp nerves
- Enamel pitting and disintegration
The Right Age To Whiten
The right age for teeth whitening depends on your dentist’s recommendation and your teen. Most dentists agree that teeth whitening should be done no earlier than age 14-16. Many pre-teens do not have all of their permanent teeth yet, so it’s best not to undergo teeth whitening until all adult teeth are present, and there are no longer any baby teeth in your child’s mouth.
Teeth whitening should be considered on an individual basis, so if your child already has all of their adult teeth by 13, they may be ready for whitening products.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Dentists strongly recommend that in-office laser teeth whitening treatments are ideal for teenagers who want a brighter smile. These professional treatments allow for a quick and easy whitening process that is proven to be safe without room for user-error.
During an in-office whitening treatment, your teen’s eyes and gums are fully protected from the laser light to ensure safety. After whitening, there will be an immediate difference with no mess or complications.
At-home whitening kids come in the form of strips or gels. These whitening products are applied directly to the teeth with a brush or in the form of a thin strip. At-home kids are not customized to each patient, which can result in an improper fit leading to gum irritation and tooth sensitivity. These products are intended to be applied daily for up to two weeks.
Brushing teeth thoroughly twice a day with whitening toothpaste will help to prevent stains and remove surface stains. Brushing with a mild whitening toothpaste is far more gentle than using products with bleach. Always check with your dentist to ensure that whitening toothpaste is safe and appropriate for your child’s teeth before using a specific product.
Custom Dental Trays and Gel
Custom whitening trays can be made for your teen to ensure the treatment is personalized and will yield great results. Custom made dental trays will be created from impressions taken in our office, and a professional-strength whitening gel will help to whiten your teen’s smile over two weeks.
In-Office Teeth Cleaning
Having your child’s teeth thoroughly and properly cleaned every six months will help to keep their smile bright and white. If teeth cleanings aren’t enough, talk to your dentist about professional in-office whitening treatments. Together, we can evaluate the state of your teen’s oral health, and offer assistance in how to help them achieve a healthy and white smile.
Always consult with a trusted dentist before starting any teeth-whitening treatments for your teen. Call Elite Dental & Denture PC today so we can help your child avoid any potentially-painful side effects common with at-home teeth whitening.