When Can My Child Bleach Their Teeth?
More frequently than ever before, dentists and dental professionals are confronted with questions regarding teeth bleaching for children and young adults. While there may not be a clear cut answer, our goal is to help educate the parents and the patients of their options when it comes to bleaching their teeth.
The first concern of many parents is whether or not teeth bleaching effects the strength of the tooth in any way. The active ingredients for bleaching in the United States are typically carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, and neither will weaken the enamel or increase the risk of cavities. However, improper use or too high of concentrations can lead to tooth sensitivity and irritation of the gums. This can be very difficult to predict, but to reduce the risk of these situations; we always recommend consulting with a dental professional before beginning any type of bleaching regiment.
In younger patients, the nerve of the tooth is larger and more susceptible to sensitivity. The nerve, or pulp chamber, typically remains enlarged during the teenage years and gradually shrinks as we age. There is no evidence that shows irreversible long-term damage to the pulp chamber when proper bleaching techniques are used, but teenagers have the highest risk of developing sensitivity during and after use of teeth bleaching products.
So how do you know when or if it is OK for your kid to start using over-the-counter or doctor prescribed teeth bleaching products? It is always a good idea to check with your dentist first. They can help with the decision using x-rays and/or knowing the particular person’s clinical history. Based on the individual circumstances and knowing the desired results, a personalized plan and timeline can be developed that will reduce the likelihood of tooth sensitivity and gum irritation for the patient.