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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

If you are a senior considering dental implants, you may have to worry about issues other dental patients don't have to think about. For example, you may need more time to recover after receiving your implants. My name is Jodi, and I've been working with seniors for years. I decided to create this blog to help the seniors I can't meet in person. In this space, I'm going to post entries on everything related to dental implants and seniors. From tips on flossing implants after arthritis has claimed some of your dexterity, to guiding you through the implants-vs-dentures debate, this blog is designed for you. Thanks for reading. I hope you find what you need!



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Dental Implants: A Guide for Seniors

Should You Allow Children to Have Their Teeth Whitened?

by Jimmy Carter

As kids get older, they often become more conscious about their appearance. If they don't feel that their teeth look white enough, you may find that your teen, or even pre-teen, starts to ask about having their teeth whitened. As a parent, you want to help your child feel good about themselves; however, you also need to make sure that they don't make mistakes that may impact their dental health. What do you need to consider before you allow kids to have their teeth whitened?

Are Your Child's Teeth Fully Developed?

Unless your dentist advises a whitening treatment, you shouldn't whiten your teeth until all of your adult teeth have come through. For example, if children have teeth that are discoloured through injury or through taking a medication when they were younger, your dentist may suggest ways to whiten those teeth early; typically, general tooth whitening that covers all teeth is not recommended until kids have lost all their baby teeth.

Typically, most kids have all their primary permanent teeth by the time they are 13, although wisdom teeth, if kids have them, may not come through until they are in their late teens or early twenties. Even if your child has a full set of primary adult teeth, you may want to wait until you allow cosmetic whitening treatments. The pulp inside adult teeth takes time to form fully after the teeth come through, and it may be better to wait until your child is in their mid-teens before you even consider whitening treatments. If teeth don't have enough pulp, whitening treatments may cause problems such as extra tooth sensitivity.

Why Does Your Child Want a Tooth Whitening Treatment?

Some kids may notice that their adult teeth are less white than their baby teeth used to be; others may envy their friends who have whiter teeth than they do. While you may know that it's natural for adult teeth to look less white and for some people to have whiter teeth than others, your child may not realise this or care much about it.

As the adult in this situation, you may need to make a judgement call on whether your child actually needs tooth whitening. If you feel that your child has a point, you may want to allow treatment; however, if you feel that your child's teeth actually look fine, you may decide not to agree to a treatment.

In some cases, older teens may want to have their teeth whitened because they are starting to look more yellow than they did when they first came through. If this is down to poor dental hygiene and a love of foods and drinks that stain the teeth, you might be justified in having a parental "I-told-you-so" moment before discussing whitening options in more detail.

In either case, it's important to take your child to your dentist before you come to a final decision to get an expert opinion.  

What Does Your Dentist Think?

Your cosmetic dentist can make a professional judgement on the pros and cons of teeth whitening for your child. For example, your dentist will be able to do the following:

  • Confirm whether your child's teeth have reached the stage when whitening is an option.
  • Give an opinion on whether your child needs this kind of treatment. Some dentists may be less willing to whiten children's teeth that are already quite white but may be willing to help if the colour of your child's teeth is causing them real distress.
  • Offer alternative solutions that may whiten the teeth. For example, if your child's teeth are stained or have a lot of plaque or tartar on them, a professional clean and polish may remove this staining and discolouration, making the teeth look whiter again.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the treatments available. For example, your dentist may feel that laser whitening by a qualified dentist is a better option for young teeth than chemical products that you apply at home.