As your child grows into a tween and a teen, they develop unique dental needs that make maintaining their teeth even more vital to their oral health.
How often should teenagers go to the dentist?
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients of all ages visit the dentist once every 6 months. Teens especially need regular dental visits to prevent or treat common issues such as gingivitis, tooth decay, TMJ, and wisdom teeth issues.
Healthy Dental Habits for Teens
Because most kids already have all their permanent adult teeth by age 12 or 13, teens must continue good oral hygiene they learned in childhood to maintain a healthy smile. This includes brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once daily.
Routine dental visits allow for monitoring of any teeth crowding, cavities or wisdom teeth impaction before problems develop.
Dental Preventative Methods to Protect Teen Smiles
Many teenagers become active in sports during this life stage, and for some activities such as football, skateboarding, or baseball, protecting teeth is imperative. A mouthguard can protect teeth from getting knocked out or broken. They cushion teen mouths from lip and face injuries as well as jaw fractures. Schedule a visit with your dentist to learn more about custom-made mouth guards for additional protection from sports-related injuries.
Cavity formation often increases during adolescence. Whether from improper oral hygiene or changes in diet, regular dental visits further assist in protecting teen smiles. Some parents opt to protect cavity-prone areas with dental sealants. These special coatings form a barrier in deep teeth groves to protect teeth from decay.
Orthodontics for Teenagers: Braces
During the tween and teen years, many parents schedule their teens for a dental evaluation for braces or other orthodontic concerns. Bad bites, misaligned jaws, crooked or crowded teeth may require treatment. While some teens may only need invisible aligners, others may require orthodontic braces. If your teen requires orthodontic treatment, we will recommend a consultation with an orthodontist, who specializes in dental and facial irregularities.
Teenagers and Wisdom Teeth
As your teen gets older, their teeth also change. Sometime between age 17 and 21, teenagers develop a third set of molars – the wisdom teeth. When they grow in straight, they help with chewing. Your teen may have slight discomfort, but that is normal. For some teenagers, however, wisdom teeth cause pain because there is not enough room, or they impact in the wrong position in the jaw or under the gums.
Your East Cedar Dental dentist monitors your child’s mouth for any signs of problems with wisdom teeth development. Incorrect positioning may create conditions for cavity-causing bacteria to grow or cause difficulties with flossing. Without enough room to grow in, wisdom teeth may crowd or damage neighboring teeth. In the case of impactions, the wisdom teeth may cause damage to the roots of adjacent teeth or bone damage.
Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth
Your dentist will examine your teeth and take x-rays to determine the best treatment. He may recommend wisdom teeth removal for:
- Tooth decay
- gum disease
- damage to nearby teeth