What Science Says about Whitening for Teens

Teeth Whitening St. Francisville, LA | Sullivan Dental CenterTeeth whitening is a popular cosmetic treatment that has been performed for years on adults of all ages. There is no hiding the fact that no one wants to hide their smile. We all deserve to radiate warmth and joy from deep within. Discoloration and staining prevent us from doing so freely, with full confidence. Since the inception of professional teeth whitening, we have seen enormous expansion in the methods used to achieve positive results. We have also seen an increase in interest for teeth whitening among younger patients. Here, we want to provide parents with a bit of insight about teeth whitening to help them help teens who may be asking for this treatment.

Whitening and Tooth Development

There is little, if any question, about the value of productive whitening on adult teeth. Growing teeth, however, are different. This is why whitening is not appropriate for children under the age of 14, and possibly even older than this. While permanent teeth are still in growth-mode, they are a little extra responsive from the root to the nerves that span upward and outward. This responsiveness heightens sensitivity, which is already a risk of teeth whitening. Teeth whitening may be considered during the teen years but should commence only after a thorough exam and cleaning.

Methods of Whitening

In addition to knowing when to whiten young teeth, it is also important to examine how the desired outcome may be achieved.

  • Whitening toothpaste is affordable and convenient. The thing is, this type of product is not formulated to whiten teeth; it is made with tiny abrasive particles to polish enamel. Because it is slightly possible that a good polishing could brighten the smile, it is acceptable for manufacturers to use the term “whitening” in their polishing toothpaste. Is this a method of whitening? Not really. In fact, too much brushing with an abrasive toothpaste could damage teeth and gums.
  • Commercial whitening strips seem inexpensive and easy. This isn’t always the case. The concern with whitening strips, especially for younger patients, is that the peroxide gel can easily seep onto gum tissue. Even though the bleaching agent in a commercial product is mild, it could irritate soft tissue. Also, the highest concentration of peroxide found in commercial strips is about 20%.
  • Professional home whitening. Teens (and adults!) can get the radiant smile they want without much effort when they obtain supervised whitening treatment from their dentist. Home whitening kits contain up to 43% peroxide, which is strong enough to get noticeable results starting within a few days. The custom-fit of the whitening trays minimizes the chance that peroxide will touch the gums. Finally, treatment can be modified if sensitivity occurs.

If your teen, or you, are interested in a mega-watt smile, we’re happy to see you in our St. Francisville office. Call 225-635-4422.

Posted in: Teeth Whitening

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