Although teeth whitening may be one of the safest, non-invasive and cost-efficient ways for teens to immediately boost their appearance, parents should learn about the best whitening options for their adolescent, reports the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education.
Teeth whitening is a $600 million industry that is growing 15 to 20 percent a year, which is partly fueled by image-conscious teens heading to the mall to pick up instant do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits, many of which are heavily marketed and the sale of which are not dentist supervised.
"We want to tell teens to visit their dentist instead of the mall for a healthy, white smile," says Manuel Cordero, DDS, MAGD, spokesperson for the Academy, who has seen a steady increase in his teen patients' requests for this procedure.
Proper whitening depends upon the use of a custom-made bleaching tray, which only a dentist can properly fit. Some Internet companies sell the materials that allow consumers to make their own whitening tray. But only dentists can assure the proper use of these materials. Without supervision and expertise, these materials can cause gagging or damage to existing dental work. As with any dental procedure, whitening should always be done under the supervision of a dentist. Teeth are an integral part of the body and no two teeth whitening cases are alike.
The Academy offers teens and their parents additional tips on tooth whitening:
Provided by the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)