Will a dentist whiten a child’s tooth?

2016.05.21

My 6 yr old son had a playground accident at school in early April. The tooth is progressively getting darker. I took him to his pediatric dentist who said that the tooth is primary so it will eventually fall out so we shouldn’t worry about it. I didn’t expect my son to be so very embarrassed about the tooth but he is. He already has enough stress in school and I don’t want him to start being teased for a year or two until the tooth falls out and the permanent one comes in. How do I find a dentist who will whiten the tooth for us? Chadra

Chadra – The darkness of your son’s tooth is internal—from trauma. Tooth whitening removes stains that start from the outside and penetrate the teeth. For example coffee, smoking, certain berries, and other food or drink can penetrate the teeth and stain them. But the whitening won’t remove the darkness from trauma.

There is a way to whiten the teeth internally. The procedure typically follows a root canal treatment after the infected tooth pulp is cleaned out. The bleaching agent is placed inside the tooth and sealed in to prevent leaking. The procedure is repeated three to four times until the darkness is resolved. The procedure requires the cooperation of the patient, and it is not an option for primary teeth. Even teeth whitening for external stains is usually not recommend for children until they reach their teen years and all of their permanent teeth have erupted.

Although other children may notice your son’s tooth, a simple explanation that the tooth was injured in a playground accident may be enough to satisfy their curiosity. Based on your son’s age group, he may not be teased at all. If so, it is unlikely that he will be teased excessively or that teasing will be prolonged. You can consider preparing your son to take any teasing lightly and find a way to make a joke about it so he doesn’t feel self-conscious.

If the tooth becomes painful, you should schedule an appointment with your son’s dentist for an examination.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

What about Costa Rica for dental implants?

2016.05.16

I have 5 missing teeth and I really want dental implants. I’ve spend a lot of time reading about partial dentures or a dental bridge, but if at all possible I want dental implants. If I get dental implants in the U.S. it will probably take years to pay for them. The thought of that makes me nervous. So I have been searching for places outside of the States to get implants. I mentioned Mexico to my dentist and he almost went berserk. So I started looking for other places. One of them is Costa Rica. I saw 2 or 3 websites with U.S.-trained dentists who graduated as dental implant specialists. I can’t ask my dentist about it anymore because I think I will get the same response I did the last time. He was highly insulted that I would consider going out of the country for implant surgery when he knows several outstanding surgeons locally. I’ve always wanted to go to Costa Rica so spending some extra time there for implants, as long as they are good quality, sounds like a win-win to me. Does your office have any reliable information on implants from Costa Rica? Thanks. Belford N.

Belford – There have been reports of patients from the U.S. who returned disappointed after receiving dental implants or cosmetic dentistry. Although the reports have not been verified, some of the patients claimed to be injured during dental treatment.

If a dentist claims to be trained in the U.S., find a way to verify that. Also note that the American Dental Association recognizes nine dental specialties, none of which is a dental implant specialist. Find out what training the dentist received, where it was received, and when. Then verify it.

Have you considered what you will do if something goes wrong during the implant placement. Will you extend your stay in Costa Rica? Will you return to Costa Rica for follow-up visits if you have complications with your dental implants? If the dentist doesn’t accept responsibility for any implant complications, what are your legal rights in another country, and how will you ensure they are protected?

The cost of dental implants is associated with quality implant fixtures, advanced diagnostic studies, and implant surgeons who meet strict U.S. guidelines. Will you find the same stringent requirements in Costa Rica? Are you willing to take the risk to save money?

Your research on dental implants from the U.S. shows that you are probably aware of financing or payment plants. Those options may not be a bad idea to help increase the chance of receiving successful dental implants and the support of local dental providers.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.