Cavities, Bad Breath and Other Embarrassing Topics

Is Tooth Whitening a Good Solution for Teenagers?

Teenagers will often obsess about their appearance. They live in an environment where fellow teens and their peers can be very critical and feelings can be hurt quite easily. These teenagers can also be recalcitrant when it comes to discussing any of these obsessions with their parents. Sometimes the teen is not happy about the appearance of their smile. As a parent, what do you need to be looking out for and what solutions are available?

What to Look for

You can usually tell if your child has an issue with their smile by observing their behaviour when they are interacting with somebody else. When they laugh, do they have a tendency to hold their hands up over the mouth? Do they tend to look down or away from somebody else when in conversation? These are usually signs that they are not happy with the appearance of their smile and this may be something that you overlook. After all, you may already have discussed the issue of whether or not they need braces and have found that this is not an issue. You may still have overlooked the fact that they are concerned about the colour of their teeth.

Are Primary Teeth the Issue?

There are many reasons why teeth could be discoloured. As teens develop, their primary teeth eventually fall away and are replaced by the permanent ones. It is certainly not unusual for primary teeth to be different colours to permanent replacements. Therefore, bear in mind that any attempt to colour correct may not be fully successful until all of the permanent teeth are in place.

Are They Ready?

In younger teens the tooth whitening procedure can lead to some irritation or sensitivity along the gum line. Many dentists will recommend that parents wait until the children are later in adolescence before considering professional tooth whitening, to reduce this sensitivity. This will allow the tooth pulp to be formed properly first.

In Office Solution

There are two different methods to consider if you're ready to proceed. The first can involve chair-side bleaching, which requires several office visits of between 30 minutes and an hour. In this situation, a whitening gel is put on the teeth and then exposed to a special laser. It is possible to whiten teeth by a number of different shades.

Bleaching Trays

The second process involves the creation of custom bleaching trays by the dentist. Usually this is created in one office visit and then you are given the tray, together with bleaching gel, to take home. The teen will then use these trays a couple of times a day, or in certain circumstances they can be worn overnight instead. Results for this system are usually seen in a couple of weeks.

The Right Solution

If you are unsure whether your teen is ready for teeth whitening, or not sure what system is best in your case, consult with a cosmetic dentist for advice.