If your dentist has recommended porcelain or composite veneers for your child but you’re not 100% convinced it’s safe or necessary, you’re in the right place. There are certain instances in which veneers are an ideal solution for issues like cracked or misaligned teeth, even with young patients. However, there are some important factors to consider first before going ahead with this treatment.
1. How old is your child?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a dentist who would recommend veneers for a child who still has their baby teeth. However, even once a kid has developed their adult teeth, there is still a period of growth in which it may not be advisable to go ahead with something as permanent as veneers. Most kids continue to grow up to the age of 17, meaning the veneers will likely have to be replaced at least once.
To bond veneers to the teeth, enamel must be removed, so it’s best to avoid redoing the treatment multiple times (though dentists do remove less enamel when working with children). Depending on your circumstances and the dental problem your child is facing, you may be offered veneers as an option from about the age of 14. By the age of 16 to 17, the treatment is far more common, though you should still be cautious about going ahead. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist plenty of questions and be sure you understand the likely outcomes before proceeding.
2. Are there other potential fixes?
Before going ahead with veneers, it’s best to rule out all other viable solutions first. Ultimately, what you’re looking to do is get the damaged tooth or teeth to a healthy state. When it comes to kids, you need to think both long and short-term. While permanent fixes are ideal for adults, growing kids may do better with a less permanent fix, like a composite bond or Invisalign.
Your child may, for example, receive a composite bond at the age of 14. This may then be replaced by a veneer when they hit 18-20 years of age. If they have a late growth spurt, they may need to replace this veneer again in their 20s. Otherwise, it should last a good 15 to 20 years. Avoiding multiple veneer replacements early on by considering other treatment methods can make life a whole lot easier on your youngster as they move through adulthood.
3. Is your dentist experienced in treating kids with veneers?
If all other avenues have been considered and you’re feeling confident with pursuing veneers for your child, it’s worth tactfully checking how much experience your dentist has with performing this procedure on children. You can do this by asking whether the procedure is different with kids and how they manage any changes that result from growth. Ask your dentist to explain the procedure to you and take note of whether they intend to adjust their approach to suit your child’s age. If you don’t feel confident with their response, there’s nothing wrong with seeking a second (or third, or even fourth) opinion. Don’t go ahead until you’ve found a dentist you have complete faith in.
With their active lifestyles, kids can be especially prone to the kinds of accidents that chip and damage teeth. While veneers are the go-to solution for adults, it’s important to take stock of the above questions if this treatment is offered for your child. Consider your young one’s age, discuss other potential fixes, and be sure your dentist has plenty of expertise in this delicate treatment option before going ahead.