There are all kinds of products and processes that teens employ to look their best at prom. Some do healthy exercise to add tone to their muscles. Many improve their daily skincare regimens to fight breakouts and trouble spots. Others work on the luster of their hair or grow their nails long and strong.
Clean and bright teeth are a priority to many, especially with all of the photos taken at prom. There are many ways to get whiter teeth, including a lot of over-the-counter options and some available only through dentists. Is it a good idea to whiten your teeth for prom?
The official word on teens and teeth whitening comes from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The AAPD recommends against using teeth whitening strips before age 15, or when most teens have lost their baby teeth, primarily due to lack of research on teens using white strips.
The active ingredient in commercially available strips is Hydrogen Peroxide which can cause extra sensitivity, especially in baby teeth. If you are under 15, it is best to follow great oral hygiene habits like frequent brushing and flossing and avoiding foods that will stain your teeth.
After age 15, the ADA has observed that long-term use of whitening products with bleach may cause irreversible damage and that most methods of whitening teeth come with the risk of triggering tooth sensitivity or gum pain in some patients.
The ADA recommends that anyone considering a whitening process consult his or her dentist first.
Over-the-counter options for teeth whitening include whitening strips systems, programs that involve applying substances that interact with UV light, a variety of gels and pastes that are applied to the teeth for extended periods of time, and brushing teeth with one of dozens of whitening pastes that vary in strength and active ingredients. Some over-the-counter products are very affordable, and some a super expensive.
Another class of treatments are sold only by dentists, but intended for home use. These products are similar to over-the-counter versions with stronger ingredients, requiring the oversight of a trained dentist to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved without damaging your teeth.
Finally, a third group of treatments are done in the dentist office. The products are applied for less time than treatments at home with active ingredients in the highest concentrations. These services are generally not covered by insurance, so going the in-dentist route can be very expensive. Of course, the results tend to be the best, especially when you follow a routine of regular whitening at the professional dental office.
Consult Your Dentist
Of course, if you’re considering any kind of tooth whitening product or process for prom, consult your dental professional first. You can’t beat the advice of a great family or pediatric dentist and you’ll be able to relax knowing that the steps you are taking to look amazing in your perfect prom dress or tux won’t damage or endanger your oh-so-important smile!