When To Invest in Cosmetic Dentistry For Your Child

Childrens dental

Cosmetic dentistry procedures have never been more popular — but are they suitable for children and teens? As parents continue to ask us questions about these types of procedures for their children, we offer this advice: yes, and no.

Our family-oriented office office follow a less-is-more approach. We believe in doing everything we can to keep our patient’s teeth healthy and attractive, but there are certain procedures we think are best suited for adults.

Also, we like to educate our patients about how one of the gifts of youth is relatively healthy teeth. Adolescence is the time you want to teach your kids about how to take care of their teeth on their own without having to use some of their more advanced treatments adults need due to aging and other factors.

PROCEDURES THAT SHOULD WAIT

Some parents have asked us about placing veneers on their child’s teeth. While it is possible, we strongly discourage this practice because we believe that most children’s teeth are still changing and moving. It makes no sense to make a large financial investment on teeth that will likely shift within a few months or years.

Another reason to hold off on veneers is that a significant portion of your tooth enamel needs to be removed for the veneer to be placed. It’s smart to keep as much of your natural tooth material in your mouth as possible.

We have the same philosophy for crowns and dental implants and we avoid them in children and teens when necessary.

PROCEDURES CHILDREN AND TEENS CAN BENEFIT FROM

  • One treatment we suggest to parents of children and teens with discolored teeth is microabrasion. Microabrasion is highly effective technique that often improves the color of your teeth enough that don’t need whitening. The treatment involves removing tiny bits of stained and discolored enamel with a mild liquid solution and a dental tool.
  • Bonding is another widely-accepted practice used that can technically be considered a cosmetic procedure. Bonding is when we use a composite material to repair chips, cracks and fractures in teeth. We still tread very lightly. We only like to do this when completely necessary and err on the conservative side.
  • Braces can also be considered a cosmetic procedure, even though many times straightening teeth is also hugely beneficial for the health of your child’s teeth as well as the aesthetics.
  • For teenagers, there is also whitening. Generally, we follow the recommendation of the Academy of General Dentistry that advises against whitening before age 14. If your teen is older than 14 and has doesn’t have any baby teeth left, whitening can be considered. It can help immensely with self esteem in the turbulent teenage years. To begin with, we always suggest to start out with a whitening toothpaste and look for results. If that doesn’t work, you can step it up to bleaching. Instead of trying out whitening products at home and possibly misusing them, we advise patients request a low concentration bleach solution from our office.
  • Throughout the years we have taken our regular procedures and found ways to make them more aesthetically pleasing without changing the actual result of the procedure. For instance, metal fillings used to be norm, but now we almost always use composite tooth-colored fillings. This avoids the distracting metal mouth look and still gets the job done.
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