My daughter is in gymnastics. 5 weeks ago she had a serious collision with a teammate that included a blow to her mouth. She complained about her teeth hurting, but none of them are loose. One of her teeth started turning gray. Our pediatric dentist said that we shouldn’t worry about it because it’s a primary tooth. My daughter is in school and very self-conscious about her gray tooth. Although the dentist isn’t concerned, my daughter is. Can I use Crest whitening strips to lighten her tooth a bit? Thanks. Fallon
Fallon – Most causes of stains in teeth are from the outside in. Over time smoking, eating, drinking coffee or dark beverages create stains on our teeth. The stains can become imbedded in teeth. Teeth whitening can remove them.
Before Using Whitening Strips on Your Child’s Teeth
Effectivenessof whitening strips– Whitening strips are about ¼ the strength of professional whitening from a dentist. Even deeply embedded stains from external sources are difficult to remove with whitening strips. In your daughter’s cause, the stain is coming from damage within the tooth. Whitening strips won’t help.
- When there is internal damage – The color of your daughter’s tooth
indicates internaldamage. Skilled cosmetic dentistsare able to provide internal whitening treatment. The process is complexand generally not recommended for children. If the damage was to a permanent tooth, the discoloration would be a lingering issue and internal bleachingmight be an option.
- Whitening can create problems – You didn’t mention that the tooth is causing
your daughterany pain or discomfort, which is good. Bleaching, particularly whenit’s not supervised by a dentist, should only be applied to healthy teeth. The gel can irritate tooth nerves and cause sensitivity to heat or cold. It’s best to let the tooth remain as it is. In a year or two, it willbe replaced with a permanent tooth.
Don’t Ignore the Symptoms
If your daughter begins to feel discomfort in the tooth, schedule an appointment with her pediatric dentist. The tooth might require a pulpotomy, which is similar to root canal treatment for adults. Whenever possible, primary teeth should be preserved as a placeholder for permanent teeth and to guide them into the correct position.