Sporting Smiles
A Great Dentist

Adolescents and Tooth Whitening: A Sensitive Subject

March 26, 2013
Posted By: Dr. Natasha

The first question most patients ask when they come to our office is “How can I whiten my teeth?” Cosmetic bleaching is indeed an excellent way to boost your self-confidence and improve the look of your smile. It is a simple procedure that can be performed at the dental office or in the comfort of your own home.

Advantages of in-office, professional teeth whitening are:
1.) a professional consultation that includes a thorough examination that identifies the causes of discoloration, and
2.) a controlled environment that may include the use of lights and lasers with guaranteed safe and rapid results.

For children and adolescents, whitening can be a ‘sensitive’ subject in every sense of the word. Due to the difference in the thickness of enamel between primary and permanent teeth, primary teeth appear lighter in color making the newly erupting permanent teeth seem alarmingly dull. This is a very normal occurrence.

Nowadays, interest in cosmetic bleaching has become more common among younger patients. For young children and adolescents, at this particular stage of dental development, the procedure may result in a mismatched dental appearance once all permanent teeth have erupted. The same mismatched appearance may occur with bleaching before orthodontic treatment.

At Sporting Smiles, we recommend cosmetic bleaching once a patient has all of their permanent teeth and has completed orthodontic treatment. Single tooth discoloration (the result of trauma or root canal treatment) is treated on a case by case basis and may be addressed sooner.

Many patients and their parents ask about the safety and any related side effects of bleaching products. Whitening, even under the most ideal circumstances, causes some patients to inevitably develop dental discomfort.

The following techniques have been clinically proven to alleviate sensitivity. However, if the dental discomfort persists beyond a few days, consult your dentist for additional treatment and recommendations.

1.) Never whiten your teeth for longer than recommended. Avoiding daily whitening and opt for shorter application times.

2.) Ibuprofen can reduce sensitivity if taken before the procedure.

3.) Avoid or limit hot and cold food and beverages while you are whitening.

4.) Overuse of whitening products can not only cause sensitivity but sometimes even irreversible damage to teeth and gums.

5.) Using fluoride rinses and toothpaste products such as Sensodyne can help alleviate sensitivity. Our doctors recommend over the counter fluoride treatments before, during and after whitening procedures.

At Sporting Smiles, we offer ZOOM! and conventional custom tray bleaching.

Contact us today at (571) 248-1501 for a free consultation and to learn about specials that we offer for patients who have recently completed orthodontic treatment!

Natasha Khurana, DDS
Sporting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Family Orthodontics
7915 Lake Manassas Drive, Suite 301
Gainesville, VA 20155

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