Teens are more independent and their schedules are typically jam packed with school, sports and social activities. Parents tell us all the time how much harder it is to keep track of their kids hygiene and activities of daily living once the teen years begin. We want to help our parents continue to positively impact their children’s dental health even though we can’t be as supervisory of habits as we were during childhood.
It is a fine art to be able to accomplish this without being accused of smothering so here are our tips to help you make sure your teens won’t have dental issues.
Simply maintain dentist visits
Set dentist appointments for your teen twice a year (and consider a 3rd time if they have orthodontic appliances installed to assure they avoid those dreaded white spots). Cleanings, preventative care and the occasional filling when needed are no big deal when caught early. Additionally, after you check them in and consent to treatment, they can come back on their own and have treatment by themselves so they maintain their desired feeling of independence.
If you didn’t need interceptive orthodontics when your child was younger, many of our ortho patients usually start in their teen or pre-teen years. We provide free orthodontic evaluations every day and we can talk to your teen about his/her treatment options, if he/she needs them.
Today’s modern technology can make braces and clear aligner treatments easier and more efficient. Additionally, teens today are maturing in a digital age and they take so many pictures and interact online socially so much more than their parents that motivation for treatment is very high. There has honestly not been a better time to be an orthdontic patient.
During dentist visits or orthodontic evaluation, we can monitor the progress of your teen’s wisdom teeth. Management at the right time minimizes the risk of orthodontic relapse, tooth and jaw pain and adverse effects of wisdom teeth on adjacent structures in the jaw.
Mouthguards for athletes
If your teen takes sports seriously and is involved with contact sports, then he or she should also take protecting his or her teeth seriously. Avoid damage and get a mouthguard custom made with your dentist or orthodontist. It will fit, look and perform better than what he/she will get over the counter.
Dentists aren’t typically huge fans of these items as they can cause damage to hard and soft tissues around the mouth. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t very popular and we do see them around our office from time to time.
It is important to talk with your teens about this thoughtfully if they begin to show an interest. Talking about it also means they’ll make that decision fully aware of the risks:
- Tongue and mouth piercings can lead to chipped or damaged teeth. The tooth fracture can happen on the enamel or go deeper, requiring root canal treatment or extraction.
- Piercings inside the mouth are also prone to infection. Tongue swelling from infection can be a life-threatening situation.
- Disease from unclean piercing equipment can also lead to other complications, including blood-borne hepatitis.
Good habits over bad
Stressing the risks of smoking and drug use is a rite of passage for any parent. Our doctors are also on the lookout for tissue changes in the mouth when our patients come in for their hygiene check ups and can help stress the importance of good choices.
Talk to your pediatrician if you’re worried about your teen having an eating disorder, which can also manifest in poor dental health due to malnutrition or erosion of tooth enamel during episodes of bulimia.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.