Cosmetic Dental Care for Children

Smile makeovers and brilliant white veneers are all the rage for adults interested in a cosmetically enhanced smile, but what about children? Kids and teens can also experience self-consciousness stemming from crooked or chipped teeth or glaringly obvious silver fillings and crowns.

Here’s what parents should know about the lesser-known field of kids’ cosmetic dentistry.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is a field of dental care dedicated to improving the aesthetic nature of a person’s smile by changing the size, shape, color, or alignment of their teeth. Some popular cosmetic dentistry services include porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, tooth-colored fillings, and porcelain dental crowns.

Many of the same services featured in cosmetic dental care treatment plans are also considered restorative in nature. For example, dental crowns following a root canal are considered a restorative procedure because they’re necessary for maintaining the health and function of a tooth. However, when a dental crown covers a functional but unsightly tooth, it’s considered a cosmetic procedure.

Despite the aesthetic focus of cosmetic dentistry, many cosmetic services also offer oral health benefits. Straightening gaps between teeth or covering chips and other superficial damage often reduces plaque build-up and can reduce the risks of cavities.

Why would a child need cosmetic dental care?

Although kids’ cosmetic dentistry isn’t quite as popular as adult cosmetic care, it’s actually more common than many parents initially realize.  Cosmetic dental care for kids is done for similar reasons as adults—it improves how a child’s smile looks and offers some additional health benefits.

Five common cosmetic dentistry services appropriate for children and teens include:

  1. Teeth whitening to remove stains or discoloration (age 14+)
  2. Orthodontic care to improve teeth alignment (cosmetic and/or functional)
  3. Tooth-colored composite fillings in place of silver fillings
  4. Tooth-colored dental crowns in place of stainless-steel crowns
  5. Dental bonding to repair chips and cracks

More intensive cosmetic procedures that are not appropriate for children or teens would include porcelain veneers or dental implants. Most dentists will recommend to wait on these procedures until a child enters their very late teens, or even longer because the jawbone and facial structure may continue to grow and develop into their early twenties.

If your child has a missing tooth, they may wear a space maintainer or receive a dental bridge until they are candidates for something like dental implant surgery.

How can cosmetic dentistry benefit a child?

Cosmetic dentistry is just as empowering for children as it is for adults. Parents considering a cosmetic service for their child can expect them to experience these wonderful benefits.

1. Boost their self-confidence.

Children become self-aware of their appearance as early as toddlers. And, at around age five, most kids begin to take more control of their appearance, such as wanting to wear certain clothes or have their hair look a certain way. Fast forward to the preteen years, and children aged 12+ really develop a sense of body image.

Things they weren’t self-conscious of before, such as a bright silver crown, silver fillings, crooked teeth, or a chipped tooth, now become a pain point that can negatively impact their self-confidence.

Something as simple as replacing silver fillings and crowns with tooth-colored zirconia or composites can make a child feel more confident in their smile, which in turn improves their confidence in other areas of life and even their performance at school or after-school activities.

2. Repair damage from injuries.

Dental injuries are far more common in children than adults, thanks to active play, roughhousing, sports, and a generally increased chance of tripping or falling. A badly damaged tooth will need a restorative solution, but a dentist can mend a superficially damaged tooth with cosmetic care.

Dental bonding is excellent for filling in small chips or cracks on baby or adult teeth. It’s semipermanent—wearing off after several years—and can be removed from the teeth at any time. Covering chips and other enamel damage also smooths out the tooth’s surface, discouraging plaque build-up on what would have otherwise been a rough patch or edge.

3. Spark an interest in oral health.

Adults who feel good about their smiles and have invested in them are much more likely to prioritize their oral health care. Children and teens who are proud of their smiles also exhibit this behavior.

Kids and teens who have received cosmetic dental care to alleviate some self-consciousness often show renewed motivation and interest in keeping their smile looking its best. They’re more likely to follow their dentists’ and parents’ guidance on healthy brushing and flossing habits and may even be more thoughtful about how much soda or candy they choose to eat.

What’s the first step parents should take?

If you believe your child would benefit from cosmetic dentistry, the first step is to contact their pediatric dentist for guidance.

We Make Kids Smile has pediatric dental offices in Waldorf and Prince Frederick, making us a fantastic choice for local families. Although we don’t provide teeth whitening or orthodontic in-office, we work with other local practices that can provide these services. We’ll work together to help your child achieve a beautiful and healthy smile.

Contact our team today by calling your preferred location or submitting an online request.

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3460 Old Washington Rd, #200
Waldorf, MD 20602

Prince Frederick

Prince Frederick

Prince Frederick

540 Main Street
Prince Frederick, MD 20678


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