Dental health during teen years offers another set of challenges. For most parents, this doesn’t come as a big surprise.
A dizzying number of changes strike during these formative years, and parents often experience a few frustrations along the way.
But teens listen more than we realize, and pestering parents can make a tremendous difference in the dental future of these young adults. Oral home care habits tend to slide, sometimes to the point of complete neglect. Increased independence may lead to eating and drinking habits that harm oral and overall health. Don’t underestimate any encouragement given to help your teen avoid the long-term effects of cavities and gum inflammation.
Preventive visits every six months with one of our teen dentists provides us with an opportunity to coach your teen and reinforce the efforts you’re making with them. Sometimes the rapport we establish in a professional, yet friendly, setting proves especially effective. Plus we can share problems with them through visual aids while reinforcing any positive efforts they’re making.
Tips for home efforts that protect your teen’s dental health:
Limit sodas and energy drinks. Sugary carbonated drinks are the number one cause of tooth decay in adolescents. Many 20 ounce bottles of soda contain 18 teaspoons of sugar in an extremely acidic liquid. The combination can be devastating for teeth.
Encourage brushing before bedtime. Night hours can be especially harmful as the mouth dries out and bacterial plaque flourishes.
Explain the dangers of sharing toothbrushes. Teens love to share everything, even toothbrushes. The bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities can easily transfer from one person to the next through this method.
Slip in dental floss or a toothpick with their lunch or backpack.
Wisdom Teeth Extractions
As your teen grows, their wisdom teeth will begin to erupt. The wisdom teeth are our third set of molars, and they usually come in between the ages of 18-25. However, the process can start as early as 16 or 17, in some cases.
Usually, the wisdom teeth must be removed when they start to erupt. This is because most people do not have enough space in their mouths to accommodate the wisdom teeth. As a result, they often grow in improperly and can cause the surrounding teeth to shift. Wisdom teeth may also become “impacted,” and fail to erupt completely from the gums. This can cause tooth infections and a number of other painful and potentially dangerous complications.
If your teen has been complaining of tooth pain in their rear molars, come in for a consultation with Dr. Brock or Dr. Casas right away to see if their wisdom teeth should be removed.
Orthodontic treatments like braces are often recommended for teenagers and young adults. It’s usually easier to correct tooth positioning and bite issues when a patient is younger, so the teenage years are typically the best time for orthodontic treatment. Since a teen’s mouth is still growing and developing, this makes it easier to correct the position of their teeth and jaw.
If you think that your teenager may need orthodontic treatment, Brock & Casas Pediatric Dentistry is here to help. We offer comprehensive orthodontic screenings. During these appointments, Dr. Brock and Dr. Casas will examine your child’s mouth, take x-rays and digital images, and help you understand what kind of treatment may be right for their particular needs.
Despite your best efforts, your teen may still develop cavities. Improper brushing and flossing, a diet high in sugar, and a failure to see the dentist regularly for dental cleanings can all contribute to a higher risk of cavities in teenagers.
We offer composite, tooth-colored fillings to restore your child’s smile while not affecting the appearance of their teeth. Unlike the grayish color of a metal-amalgam filling, composite fillings can be matched perfectly to the color of a tooth, allowing for a completely natural-looking treatment.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canals are used to treat infected teeth. Advanced tooth decay is the most common cause of a tooth infection. As acid eats away at a tooth, the vulnerable interior “pulp” becomes exposed to oral bacteria and can become infected.
However, tooth infections can also be the result of an oral injury. If your teen has a cracked or damaged tooth after a hard hit during a football game, for example, the pulp could become exposed and infected.
Root canal therapy is the best way to restore the tooth, preserve it, and prevent it from dying. During treatment, Dr. Brock or Dr. Casas will remove the damaged enamel, open up a small hole in the tooth, and extract the decaying, infected material from inside the tooth. Then, the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and filled with an inert, rubbery material. After this, a temporary filling or crown will be applied, and your teen will come back to our office in a few weeks to have a permanent crown placed.