When you’re a parent, nothing is more beautiful than the sight of your child’s smiling face. Even for non-parents, a child’s smile holds contagious joy.
For children, smiling plays an essential role in neurological and social development. When children are infants, smiling adult faces help them feel safe, secure, and loved, which aids healthy brain development. Within just a few weeks of being born, infants are actually able to communicate via smiling, a phenomenon known as “social smiling.” As children mature and begin socializing with their peers, smiling becomes an important part of making friends and developing a positive life attitude.
Given how important smiling is to childhood development, it can be painful when a child feels self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth. Tooth discoloration, in particular, can make a child hesitant to smile and can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- Physical tooth damage
- Consumption of certain medications
- Genetic issues
- Sugary diet
In these cases, many parents want to help their child by seeking out professional whitening services. But is whitening children’s teeth safe?
If you’re researching whitening options for your child, here’s what you need to know:
Whitening Children’s Teeth: Is it Possible? Is it Safe?
Broadly speaking, it is possible to whiten children’s teeth using a few different methods. However, there are many factors that you have to consider to both protect your child’s oral health and create good results.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, there has been a rising interest in adolescent and pre-teen teeth whitening over the last few years. As more whitening treatments have become available in recent years, patients of all age groups have increasingly sought out information on which options will work for them. For adults, most of these products are viable choices. For minors, it’s a little more complicated.
Consider in-office dental bleaching, for example. When performed on adult patients, dental bleaching evenly increases teeth whiteness across the entire dental arch. However, children with a mix of permanent and baby teeth will not respond well to bleaching. Once the other permanent teeth come in, the child’s mouth will be filled with mismatched colors.
In addition, many bleaching treatments may cause side effects that will bother certain children. These risks include:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tissue irritation
- Miscellaneous structure damages (e.g. mineral degradation, pulpal damage, erosion, etc.)
To minimize these risks, it is always recommended that you seek out professional help whenever whitening a child’s teeth.
Top Options for Whitening Children’s Teeth
Given how many factors there are to consider when whitening children’s teeth, it’s important to partner with a dental professional rather than taking a do-it-yourself approach. With professional help, you can verify that your child is a viable candidate for whitening treatment and minimize the risk of negative repercussions.
If your child is right for teeth whitening, they can undergo the following options:
- In-office bleaching treatment (click here for details on how it is performed)
- An at-home whitening kit consisting of whitening materials and custom trays
You can find these treatments at either a cosmetic dentist’s office, or an orthodontic practice, like Beverly Hills Orthodontics, that offers pediatric services and whitening treatment. While the cosmetic dentist will be able to correct the color of your child’s smile, an orthodontist can improve your child’s smile in a holistic manner.
The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends that children attend their first orthodontist appointment at age 7. At this initial visit, the orthodontist will be able to:
- Examine the child’s teeth and jaw to ensure that they are developing in a healthy manner
- Diagnose any bite issues or alignment problems
- Create a tentative treatment plan that will correct any issues at an early age
With these steps in place, your child will be set to experience the most efficient orthodontic care possible. When children are younger than 18, their jawbone structure is still developing, and is therefore easier to alter. Compared to adults, adolescent orthodontic treatments are often quicker and easier to perform.
Here at Beverly Hills Orthodontics, not only can we help whiten your child’s teeth, we can also formulate how to correct your child’s more serious smile problems when they are easier to treat. To learn more about how your child could benefit from pediatric orthodontic care, you can schedule an in-person or virtual consultation at one of our four locations.
Could Your Child Benefit From Teeth Whitening Treatment? Reach Out to Beverly Hills Orthodontics Today
We know how painful it can be to see your child be embarrassed of their smile. At Beverly Hills Orthodontics, we want everyone to have a smile they love—including adults, teens, and pre-teens. That’s why we offer teeth whitening services to patients of all ages.
With a practice as sensitive as whitening children’s teeth, it’s important to partner with a professional that you can trust. Since 2008, Beverly Hills Orthodontics has been helping patients across Los Angeles improve the look and alignment of their smiles. If your child is struggling with their smile’s appearance, our team is here to help in any way they can.