Staining, dark pits, and tinted striations on children’s teeth can distract from the otherwise most endearing smile. If you live in the Mississauga area, St. Lawrence Dentistry can help fix these issues and help them from happening in the first place.
When parents come to our office and ask what the cause of their children’s teeth staining is, Dr. Hawryluk will first determine if the cause is internal or external. There are several causes of internal staining. If the mother has taken tetracycline during their pregnancy the child’s teeth can come out dark. Similarly, using medications containing iron in pregnancy can also stain a child’s teeth. Excessive fluoride use in children can lead to bright white spots or streaks. Sometimes a mild green shade is observed in teeth in cases where a child had jaundice after birth. Other Illnesses such as children heart disease correlate with staining.
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Illnesses taking place while the teeth are developing can result in a white, yellow, or brown stain which is most prevalent on the upper central incisors and first molars. When the condition is minimal, it appears as white marks near the biting surface. In more moderate cases the marks are usually water variable, meaning if the tooth desiccates the area will be more visible. White blotches that are bigger and dense will likely need to be removed by Dr. Hawryluk and the blotch area filled with cosmetic filling material. Yellow or brown spots can often become less noticeable by bleaching.
If your child endured a high fever for a protracted time before the age of 10, some disturbance to the permanent dentition may have taken place. When the adult teeth arrive there may be spots visible on the teeth that were created on the tooth buds at the time of the sickness. Also the tenacity of the enamel may have been lowered due to the fever, making teeth more prone to dental caries. If Dr. Hawryluk notices these lines during your child’s dental exam he may review what he thinks the cause it and will go over treatment (of any is indicated).
There are several outside factors (extrinsic) which can stain your child’s teeth. If dental brushing and flossing are not adequate than a residue of plaque can be left on the teeth which ultimately can cause a yellow stain. Our courteous dental hygienists will of course be happy to review with your child the best pediatric dental home care techniques. If your child has fallen the upper incisor front teeth can easily turn pink or grey due to stagnant dried up blood in these teeth. Some of these teeth can be left until they naturally fall out around age 8 or 9, whereas others need to be removed. Dr. Hawryluk will of course figure out the best course of action if your child is a patient at St. Lawrence Dentistry. Small black spots can be present anywhere on your child’s and most of these are harmless. If your child’s teeth are more porous then staining from food debris will more easily penetrate the tooth. The fissures of molar teeth are the weakest part of the teeth and easily stain black. Some of the fissure stain is benign, but others are a sign of a ‘fissure decay’ forming and have to be closely monitored. One way helping prevent fissure decay is the placement of ‘dental sealants’. These are small resins placed into the fissures of permanent molars which siphon off the fissure from the outside. Plaque can therefore not sit in the fissure which ultimately reduces the risk of dental decay.
Children who swim more than 5 hours a week have a risk of developing ‘swimmers teeth’. This stains the teeth yellow-brown due to to prolonged exposure to acidic chlorine ions. The water pH overwhelms the buffering capacity of saliva and teeth can break down. One way of helping prevent this is to have your pool maintained by a certified professional who will ensure your pool pH is kept with the ideal pH levels of 7.2 and 7.8. Also talk to your pool maintenance crew about having non chlorine based solutions to keep your pool free of bacteria and algae. If you suspect dental breakdown is happening due to your pool chemistry please contact St. Lawrence Dentistry and we will take steps if remineralize your child’s teeth if necessary.
Many parents explain to us that their child is self conscious about their teeth and ask if they can be lightened. In many cases the teeth are an average shade but just seem darker to the child and parents simply because the permanent teeth are almost always not as white as the primary teeth which just fell out. St. Lawrence Dentistry generally does not recommend tooth bleaching under the age of 18. Studies have shown that about half of children using lighting products end up with some form of gum damage or tooth sensitivity. Tooth whitening in conjunction with a bleaching light can actually cause damage of the tooth pulp in children. Also, starting whitening too early can set a child up for a habit of chronic prolonged whitening which ultimately can turn teeth slightly grey and lacklustre. One mild way to start mild whitening at a younger age is to brush your teeth for 30 seconds with Crest 3D whitening mouthwash. You close your mouth around your brush and gently burnish it in. Even this mild whitening program should be professionally monitored. Dr. Hawryluk finds this method will slowly whitening teeth, especially in younger people. If whitening is to be started around 18 years old we will very carefully plan out the process. We will select the appropriate bleaching strength for your adolescent child and monitor the process from start to finish. If we find the whitening products are causing tooth sensitivity we may incorporate other products such as ‘soothe gel’ or ‘MI paste’ which will allay the discomfort.
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Some children have ‘peg laterals’ which are upper front teeth that are smaller than average lateral incisor tooth. From a functional standpoint, they are fine to leave as is. However, if the child and parent(s) want these teeth to become normal size, Dr. Hawryluk can do dental bonding. This is the addition of aesthetic tooth material (composite resin) to the tooth surface. Bonding is an ideal solution to peg laterals and many other situations because no tooth structure is drilled in the process. One important detail of peg lateral treatment is that, if you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child, the bonding should be done before the orthodontics. This is because if it not done fist the orthodontist may push all your child’s teeth together so that no space will be left for bonding, hence the teeth would have to remain a peg shape. Dr. Hawryluk can coordinate any treatment with your child’s orthodontist so ensure the best result. If you need a recommendation for a great orthodontist in the Mississauga area please let us know.
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Some parents will ask our office if the bumps on the biting surface of their child’s teeth can be sanded down. Permanent teeth which have just surfaced often have little peaks and valleys on the biting edges called called mamelons. These are normal tooth anatomy and are formed from bits of enamel fusing together as the tooth develops under the gum. The mamelons help the teeth pierce through the gum as it erupts the they can also help the your child incise food before chewing. Usually they will wear away on their own and generally it is not recommended to shave down the mamelons until over the age of 15 (if requested by parents).
It is quite common for parents to ask if their child’s gums can be contoured since they feel their child’s smile shows too much gums and not enough tooth. Its true some children have more gum tissue than others and it gives them the appearance of a ‘gummy smile’.
Other children’s gums are more slanted and angular instead of a more esthetic ‘scalloped’ appearance. There is usually no need to worry as children naturally have a bountiful amount of gum tissue in which the excess starts to recede at puberty. The biologically normal lowering of the gum at this time is called ‘passive eruption’. However, in 10% of people this process does not happen and it stays covering some of the tooth crown. Considering this, St. Lawrence Dentistry suggests in most situations to wait on any gum contouring until after age 16. Dr. Hawryluk can do any contouring (also called gingivectomy) with minimal discomfort by the Ellman Automatic Dentosurg unit which both precisely and gently cuts and coagulates at the same time.
We hope this article on teeth appearance and dental treatments for children has been informative. If you have any further questions about this subject and live in the Mississauga area please give us a call.
Reference: Your Childs Teeth, Weidman