Many of us know the common causes of discolored teeth in adults, but children can also end up with yellow teeth. There are many potential causes of yellow teeth in children, and they can be either intrinsic (internal) or extrinsic (external). If your child has yellow teeth, you might be interested in figuring out why and what can be done about it.
The most common cause of yellow teeth is external. Children’s teeth can be yellowed for many of the same reasons adult children end up discolored, as well as some reasons adults might not encounter.
These types of discoloration can be somewhat avoided with good oral hygiene habits and regular trips to the dentist.
Other forms of tooth discoloration aren’t so easily avoided or treated.
Intrinsic forms of discoloration are more difficult to treat, as the discoloration comes from further inside the tooth instead of just on the surface.
Some types of tooth staining can be treated via whitening strips or something called Vital Bleaching, in which hydrogen peroxide-based treatments are applied to the teeth and then special lights can be applied to accelerate it. These types of treatments are usually reserved for mild and uniform discolorations of teeth. If your dentist recommends these types of tooth whitening, they’ll base the proper course of action not only on your child’s age and ability to handle the treatment, but also on the condition of the teeth and staining themselves.
These types of treatment are reserved for surface discoloration, and do have the side effect of temporary increased sensitivity in teeth.
For intrinsic discolorations, there are other techniques that can be used. These include the “etch, bleach, and seal” technique which removes stains that are still near the surface, “microabrasion with dental bleaching” which is a bit harsher, or, if these treatments won’t be enough to lighten the teeth, such as in the case of deep tetracycline stains, composite veneers, which go over the fronts of the teeth and require the removal of a layer of enamel, might be suggested.
Veneers don’t last forever, so if you’re looking at veneers as an option, you might want to consider whether your child will be able to continue their upkeep as an adult to avoid further complications. Sometimes whitening is only a minor cosmetic concern and drastic actions to make the teeth look white can cause more harm in the long run.
If you’re considering tooth whitening for your child, it’s important to speak with your dentist about how uncomfortable the treatment is, how much it costs, and how effective it will be at eliminating the problem.