Teeth whitening is generally not recommended for young children. The earliest possible age can vary, and is unlikely to be until they're well into their teenage years—but this should be confirmed with your children's dentist. However, there are limited circumstances when teeth whitening can be recommended for younger children.
Dental Enamel Thickness
The ultimate thickness of your dental enamel (the tough outer layer of your teeth) isn't immediate. It will continue to develop after adult teeth have erupted, before reaching their final density over the coming years. Dental enamel on baby teeth is always thinner than the enamel on baby teeth. Whitening a child's teeth at home can easily inflict irreversible damage on their dental enamel. In fact, whitening a child's teeth should only be performed under the supervision of a dentist.
Whitening a child's teeth is a possible option to remove unsightly blemishes that can't be removed with other methods, such as professional dental cleaning or covering the blemish under a dental restoration. There might be embedded stains or other discolouration on the tooth, or the tooth may have partially darkened after an accident that caused impact trauma. Although the tooth's structure may be unharmed (the tooth may be perfectly healthy), its appearance can be a cause of embarrassment or anxiety for your child. These are the limited circumstances in which a dentist may recommend whitening your child's teeth.
Precision and Caution
This recommendation isn't a green light to buy and start using an at-home whitening kit. Although they might be effective for adult teeth, it's actually a fairly imprecise method, which puts your child's dental enamel at risk. Your child's dentist should perform the whitening. This allows the process to be performed with the necessary precision and caution, directly targeting the areas of discolouration while leaving the rest of their dental enamel alone.
Your paediatric dentist can make an applicator tray for teeth whitening to use at home if needed. A custom-made tray allows for the whitening gel to be applied evenly, without excess gel escaping and irritating your child's gums. You should only use a whitening product recommended by your children's dentist, and this may have a reduced concentration of the whitening product's active ingredient (which is hydrogen peroxide).
Remember, you're trying to correct a specific patch of discolouration, instead of whitening your child's overall smile. But given the potential risks, teeth whitening for children should only happen under the guidance of their dentist.
For more information, contact a company like the Geelong Dental Group.
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