Children love to smile. Most of them do. They smile when they feel good about their teeth. A healthy smile helps them feel more confident in school, on the playground, on a sports field. Sometimes kids need just a little help to make their smile even more bright and beautiful – tooth whitening.
Tooth whitening is either restoration of natural tooth shade or whitening beyond natural tooth shade, depending on the definition used.
Restoration of the underlying, natural tooth shade is possible by simply removing surface (extrinsic) stains (e.g. from tea, coffee, red wine and tobacco) and calculus (tartar). This is achieved by having the teeth cleaned by a dental professional or at home with various oral hygiene methods. However, calculus is difficult to remove without a professional.
If you or your child want their teeth to be whiter or think that their smile is not bright enough, you need to consult your children’s dentist. A doctor will recommend the best whitening option for your child.
While all toothpastes help to remove stains from your teeth, whitening toothpastes have special chemical and polishing agents that give additional effectiveness. If the teeth are darker due to surface stains, whitening toothpaste will definitely help to restore whiter color. On the other hand, if stains are a result of an injury or medication, whitening toothpaste will not give the desirable effect.
Bleaching will brighten the color of teeth that have been stained, discolored or darkened as a result of injury. It can be:
- Office bleaching, called “chairside” bleaching. It changes the color of the child or teen’s teeth without removing any tooth structure. A concentrated bleaching agent is applied to the teeth and then activated with heat or light. The dentist will apply either a protective gel or a rubber shield to protect their gums. The visit will take about an hour, and usually one to four visits are needed. The pediatric dentist can lighten one, two, or as many teeth as needed.
- At home bleaching. This method means that your child or teen receives a bleaching kit from a children’s dental office to use at home. In the first visit, the kid’s dentist takes a model of the child’s teeth. On the second visit, the child picks up a custom made bleaching tray and bleaching. They wear the tray with the bleaching gel at home, usually at nighttime for several nights. This method works best for the older kids whose front permanent teeth are fully erupted. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity towards hot and cold food after using teeth whiteners, but that should disappear in a few days. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth may help.
Microabrasion is an excellent option for children and teens that want to change the color of certain areas or spots on the teeth, rather than lighten the color of the whole tooth. The pediatric dentist removes microscopic bits of discolored tooth enamel with an abrasive and a mild acid. Treatment usually can be completed in one visit. Microabrasion is a treatment for removing little tooth structure. Microabrasion works better on surface discoloration than it does on deeper stains caused by injury or certain medication.
If your son or daughter is looking for a way to brighten their smile, please don’t hesitate to contact our children’s dentist office in Allen. We will discuss all the options available and chose the one most suitable for your child’s needs.