While becoming a teenager may be one of most challenging times in life, dental care during this time should not be a challenge. Teens need special care as they move towards adulthood. This is often the time for braces so maintaining oral hygiene is most important. The long term effects of neglect beneath the orthodontics will become visible as soon as the braces come off.
Dr. Kupietzky is well aware of the dentistry needs for adolescents and teens as an important part of the advanced training of a Pediatric Dentist concerns the needs of teens. To learn more on this subject see the “Five Essential Facts for Teens” and “Why Teens May Get Their First Cavity”.
Five Essential Facts for Teens
1. Teens should not feel that they have outgrown their need for dental visits – or their pediatric dentist.
2. Gum disease (also called periodontal disease or gingivitis) is not just a dental health risk, but also poses a risk to a teen’s appearance. It affects six out of ten teenagers, causing red or swollen gums, bleeding gums or bad breath. The best prevention is brushing, flossing and regular dental visits.
3. As a teenager’s body grows during the teen years, a teen’s face and jaws will grow and change as well. During the teen years, teens probably will lose their last baby teeth, get their remaining permanent teeth, and experience growth in the face and jaw. Teens can be healthy and attractive through these changes by eating a well-balance diet, taking good care of their teeth and visiting their pediatric dentist.
4. By the end of the teen years, teens probably will get the last of their permanent teeth, called wisdom teeth or third molars. Although some third molars come into the mouth normally, others need to be removed because of their position or lack of space. A pediatric dentist will make sure any treatment needed for a teen’s third molars takes place at the right time.
5. For chipped or discolored teeth, new treatments in cosmetic dentistry can restore the look of a teen’s smile. Teens should talk to their pediatric dentist about treatment choices to help them feel more confident about their appearance.
Why Teens May Get Their First Cavity – Just When They Thought They Were Too Old For It
Tooth decay can be more of a problem during the teen years than at any other time of life because:
1. Teens have a number of new permanent teeth, and teeth that have just come through the gums are more prone to decay.
2. Because almost all of the permanent teeth have come in, teens simply have more tooth surfaces susceptible to decay.
3. Teens are more independent when it comes to seeking dental appointments – or avoiding them. Some teens do not visit their pediatric dentist as often as they did when Mom drove them.
4. Teens are more in charge of their eating habits and oral health care than ever before. They may not eat healthy foods as regularly as they used to, or brush and floss as often.