Are There Age Requirements for Teeth Whitening?

Teeth Whitening

Teeth-whitening is a good way to improve your confidence in your smile. The fight against yellow, stained, unsightly teeth has prompted higher sales of over-the-counter whitening products at pharmacies as well as an increase in dental professionals who offer teeth whitening in-office. This image-enhancing tactic, while delivering attractive results, is not suited for everyone, especially children with teeth that are not yet fully developed. Read more about the tooth-whitening process and why children should avoid the treatment until reaching an approved age.

How Does Tooth Whitening Work?

Two main methods are used to eliminate stains and undesirable color shades. Some products use bleach to actually change the color of the tooth, removing surface stains and deeper, darker stains. Other products use alternative chemicals designed only to remove surface stains on teeth. The products can be applied in strips purchased from a pharmacy, or a dentist may apply gel whitening to patients’ teeth in a professional session that can be repeated until the desired whiteness level is achieved.

Can Teeth Whitening Cause Damage?

It is possible to experience discomfort following a procedure, ranging from mild to extreme. The products may enhance tooth sensitivity, making it painful to eat or drink. If the chemicals make their way into the inner nerves of a cracked tooth or a cavity, it increases the risk of damage to the roots, which could eventually lead to the need for a root canal.

Who Should Avoid Teeth Whitening?

Most over-the-counter teeth-whitening products list the age limit recommendations on the container. In most cases, treatment is not suggested for those under 16 years of age, as their total adult set of teeth may have not fully grown in yet. For professional teeth-whitening services administered by a dentist, the age restrictions are not as clear. It depends on the overall health of the child and the dentist’s assessment of how he or she will respond to tooth-whitening products.

In nearly every scenario, a dentist will want to make sure your tooth’s inner pulp is fully formed and the enamel is strong so you will have less of a chance of experiencing painful sensitivity after the treatment. Regardless of whether you would like to use a purchased product from a drugstore or receive treatment from a professional, everyone should consult their dentist prior to use to ensure they are at no risk of harming their teeth.

Contact Oak Hills Dentistry for a personalized consultation and more information on the specifics of teeth whitening services and any age requirements that might apply.