Cosmetic Dentistry For Children, Or Not?

Every parent wants their child to feel good about themselves. No parent wants to see their child hide their smile. Children only smile when they feel confident. From fractures to discolored teeth, children can lose confidence. The older they get, they may be subjected to being teased.

Good oral habits can help eliminate the need for many cosmetic corrections. Sometimes, however, some children have dental deficiencies that need medical treatment. Cosmetic dentistry on children is now becoming increasingly common. But, many may argue that children are too young for cosmetic surgery.

Microabrasion: A solution to discolored teeth.

This treatment is a great option for spotted or discolored teeth according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). Some children and teens may have had some injury trauma or used certain medication that causes their tooth to darken or lighten in spots that are very noticeable.

 Over-the-counter whitening toothpastes, although great for normal use, will not give results with these deeper stains. Sometimes, bleaching agents may alleviate this problem, but then sometimes your child needs something a little deeper such as microabrasion. Using an abrasive and mild acid, the pediatric dentist removes microscopic bits of enamel. This conservative treatment removes very little tooth structure and is much more affordable than bonding, veneers or crowns. This treatment works better on darker stains than lighter stains.

microbrasionbefore

Before microabrasion

microbrasionafter

After microabrasion

Fractured Teeth

Fractured teeth

There are several ways to restore a fractured or chipped tooth as the result of a trauma that will match the original. Bonding is the most common solution for children’s fractured teeth. It is a generic term that is used to describe the use of dental adhesive materials, including veneers, sealants and crowns that are normally light cured on teeth.

Bonding materials, also called composite resins, are tooth-colored plastics applied to the tooth, formed in shape and hardened with light or a chemical process. Treatments are fast, comfortable and affordable, and can last for several years, but can cause some loss of tooth enamel. Bonding and veneer treatments usually take more than just one visit to complete because they are custom made in a dental lab. Parents should note that bonded teeth are not as strong as the original and can be damaged easily.

teeth

Fractured Teeth

teeth

Fixed Teeth

There are several ways to restore a fractured or chipped tooth as the result of a trauma that will match the original. Bonding is the most common solution for children’s fractured teeth. It is a generic term that is used to describe the use of dental adhesive materials, including veneers, sealants and crowns that are normally light cured on teeth.

Bonding materials, also called composite resins, are tooth-colored plastics applied to the tooth, formed in shape and hardened with light or a chemical process. Treatments are fast, comfortable and affordable, and can last for several years, but can cause some loss of tooth enamel. Bonding and veneer treatments usually take more than just one visit to complete because they are custom made in a dental lab. Parents should note that bonded teeth are not as strong as the original and can be damaged easily.

Porcelain crowns are stronger than the other cosmetic choices and can last for many years with good dental health habits. Crowns are typically made of tooth colored porcelain or plastic resin overlaid on metal and custom made. They are more costly than other treatments and require a significant amount of removal of the tooth structure in order for them to fit into place.

Braces

With regular checkups, your pediatric dentist can identify crowded or crooked teeth and actively help guide new teeth, preventing more extensive orthodontic treatment later. Many benefits can come from having straight teeth that include, but are not limited to mere appearance. Not only are straight teeth easier to clean, making it less likely to experience decay and gum disease in the future, bite problems can be corrected, prevent the need for tooth extractions, and self-esteem can be boosted.

It is not recommended, however, that your child wear braces before their permanent teeth come in. Unlike other treatment choices that require shorter periods of time, braces must be worn over the years as the child’s mouth grows and changes. A commitment to regular dental visits and good home oral care is imperative. Orthodontic treatment is a significant financial investment; however, dental insurance may cover at least part of it because it offers important health benefits.

teeth

Before braces

teeth

After braces

 Fillings

Once, silver-colored fillings reminded one that they had many cavities to fill; now that is part of the past. Today, many dentists opt for a more aesthetic option using a tooth-colored filling or crown that blends in with the teeth, making it almost impossible for anyone to see a mouth full of metal.

 

fillingsilver

Fillings of the past

fillingwhite

White fillings today

Should Children have Cosmetic Dentistry?

Many parents ask if it is appropriate for their child to have cosmetic dentistry and what guidelines they should follow.

Many pediatric dentists recommend that it is best to wait until all the permanent teeth are in before making any cosmetic changes unless the problem is causing significant emotional or physical distress in your child.

Although bleaching in less concentrated solutions is quite safe for kids, it still may cause teeth sensitivity or irritated gums in your child. Parents must tell your kids that although whitening is nice, it cannot take place of daily brushing and flossing. Whitening does not prevent tooth decay.

Veneers have large margins, which can discolor from foods, liquids, and bacterial activity so good oral hygiene is important. Foods that can stain may have to be eliminated or taken less frequently.

Sit down with your dentist and discuss the reasons for any procedure to weigh the pros and cons and see if it is absolutely necessary for your child or can be avoided altogether. All options should be discussed before performing any dental procedures. The best ways to prevent your child from reaching this point is maintaining good oral health by brushing, flossing and visiting your pediatric dentist regularly.

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