The potential side effects of teeth whitening include teeth sensitivity, gum irritation, and ineffective results. However, most patients do not experience any notable side effects from professional teeth whitening, as the dentist can monitor the process and perform treatment in a way that minimizes risk. Dentists take every precaution possible to minimize the risk of teeth…
How Old Do You Have to Be to Have Professional Teeth Bleaching?
As the demand for brighter, aesthetically pleasing teeth increases, many dentists are providing professional teeth bleaching to meet their patients' needs. However, many people, especially parents, are often concerned about the minimum age to have teeth whitening treatments done. This article addresses this concern and provides insight into the whitening process.
The minimum age for teeth bleaching
Many dentists recommend children should only undergo professional teeth bleaching after their permanent teeth have fully erupted. This is generally between ages 11 to 12. However, children are unique, and their teeth mature differently. As a general precaution, some dental offices may require the patient to be at least 16 years old and escorted by a parent before they perform the procedure.
There have been cases of children around 10 years old developing complete dentition. In this case, they can undergo teeth bleaching. The bleaching process usually entails using bleaching gels like hydrogen peroxide agents on the teeth to open tooth pores and whiten the inner layer of the enamel. The whitening reflects from the inside out.
One of the reasons parents must delay professional whitening for their children is because of the nature of the agents used. These agents are abrasive and can cause enamel deterioration over time. This will not only result in tooth sensitivity but also make them more vulnerable to tooth decay.
Parents may be tempted to try over-the-counter options for their children with the hopes of brightening their smile. However, even the mildest of teeth whitening methods can harm the fragile, developing enamel of young patients. Besides, it exposes them to the risk of enamel decalcification, since their primary teeth are still missing strong mineral content that is present in permanent teeth.
Factors to consider when it comes to teeth bleaching
The following are points that may determine someone’s eligibility for professional teeth bleaching:
A consultation with the dentist regarding any medical condition is important before undergoing teeth whitening. People with dental problems such as cavities, crooked teeth, gum disease and exposed teeth must undergo treatment for these conditions before getting their teeth whitened.
Professional teeth bleaching is usually painless, but it commonly causes mildly painful tooth sensitivity in the first 24 hours. Also, patients must stay off tooth-staining drinks within this time. There is a high risk of teeth discoloration in the first 24 hours after bleaching.
Touch-ups are necessary
The patient’s choice of food and drinks have different effects on the teeth. This means yellowing is always bound to happen. Results from a professional treatment can last between six to 24 months, but this depends on the food choices and oral hygiene habits of the person. Touch-ups can restore the teeth’s luster when the shade starts to turn dull.
Before considering professional teeth bleaching for your child, you need to make sure their permanent teeth have completely erupted. This is usually when they turn 12 to 14 years old. Even at that, you need to allow their teeth to harden and become calcified. This requires two more years after the last tooth erupts. Simply put, the ideal age to have the teeth whitened is around 16 years old.
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