This may sound like a terrible question, but I’m not one of “those” moms. My daughter is 11 and wants to have Zoom whitening done and I support her in it. If it was for vanity’s sake, I might be a little hesitant, but her teeth are kind of yellowish, and her regular cleanings don’t help. Last school year, she was bullied horribly by her fellow students and it really affected her self-esteem. She’s a beautiful girl, a star student and athlete. She doesn’t deserve this. I’d like to surprise her with Zoom whitening over the summer, so that she goes back to school with a smile she’s proud of. Will a dentist treat her at this age? If not, are there other options? — A Mama Bear
Dear Mama Bear,
Your daughter is right on the cusp of the age when most dentists will give the green light on a procedure like Zoom whitening. Although Zoom whitening is not an invasive treatment, and it doesn’t damage the teeth, most dentists will want to wait until all the adult teeth are present. Some may also want to wait a couple of years beyond that. Check with your family dentist and be sure to explain your situation exactly as you have here.
As far as alternate procedures, it’s a good idea to have a consultation to address why your daughter’s teeth are discolored with the dentist anyway. It could be hereditary, permanent staining, or diet-related, but it could also be a symptom of something else. It could even be a sign that she has very thin enamel. If this is the case, Zoom whitening would probably cause such extreme sensitivity that she wouldn’t find it worthwhile. The results are likely to be mediocre at best as well. It’s also best to stay away from over-the-counter options at this age and work closely with the dentist to solve the problem instead. Your dentist may provide other in-office solutions during the consultation, but if it’s an enamel problem, she may need bonding or porcelain veneers to correct it.