Caring for New Adult Teeth
If you’re the parent of a pre-teen or teenager, it’s important to ensure that they get the oral care they need to maintain a healthy smile. The oral health habits that your child develops as an adolescent will stick with them for the rest of their lives. At the office of Patrick Stuckey, DDS, we specialize in caring for teens and pre-teens. Get more details about dentistry for your teen and schedule a consultation today.
Taking Care of
By the age of about 12-13, your child will have all of their permanent adult teeth. At every age, ensuring your child takes care of their teeth is important. However, this becomes even more important when your child’s adult teeth grow in. Once your child’s adult teeth come in, they must stay strong and healthy for decades. Without proper oral care, health issues like cavities and gum disease could cause premature damage or even tooth loss.
Proper Oral Care Habits
Your teen or pre-teen should maintain proper oral hygiene habits like brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. It’s also important to schedule preventive care like routine cleanings and oral exams with Dr. Patrick Stuckey twice per year.
Beyond this, there are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about adolescent dental care. Teens and pre-teens have more control over their diet, so they may be more likely to drink sugary beverages like tea and soda. If possible, try to discourage excessive sugar consumption.
In addition, make sure your teenager does not begin smoking or vaping, or using any nicotine-based product. These products can all cause serious oral health issues, as well as other health problems like a higher risk of cancer.
Correcting Smile & Bite Issues
Orthodontics may be recommended during the adolescent years if your child has bite alignment problems, jaw issues, or crooked teeth. Treatments like braces and Invisalign will help ensure that your child’s teeth are aligned properly and encourage better overall oral health.
If you’re not sure whether your child needs orthodontics, schedule a visit with Dr. Stuckey in Ruston. As an experienced family dentist, Dr. Stuckey can provide your pre-teen or teenager with a comprehensive orthodontic exam, and determine if braces or Invisalign may be right for your child.
As your child grows older, their wisdom teeth may begin to grow in. This last set of molars usually erupt around the age of 17-25, but some patients may get their wisdom teeth as soon as the age of 15.
In most cases, the wisdom teeth must be extracted once they begin to erupt, particularly if your teenager has had orthodontic work done. Most of us simply do not have enough room in our mouths for the wisdom teeth to erupt properly, which can cause issues like a higher risk of infection, teeth shifting, and other such problems.
At our office, Dr. Stuckey specializes in wisdom teeth extraction in Ruston. We can extract your teen’s wisdom teeth painlessly, and ensure they get the care they need to keep their mouth healthy.
Commen Dental Problems
TMJ & Bruxism - Around this age, teenagers may discover that they have a habit of teeth grinding that may have been going on for quite some time now. It’s easy to go undiagnosed since it occurs while the person is asleep.
However, over time, this can cause enamel erosion which can lead to cracks, chips, or broken teeth. It can also contribute to a dysfunction of the joints in the jaw, known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).
If you notice that your teen clenches their jaw, grinds their teeth, experiences lockjaw and pain, they should come in for a consultation. They may need to wear a mouthguard when they sleep.
Tooth Decay - At this age, young adults are more autonomous than ever, which means they’re likely eating whatever they want and don’t have someone hovering over them to ensure they’re caring for their teeth and gums.
This can lead to a diet high in acidity and sugar, which contributes to cavities. Poor oral hygiene practices such as brushing infrequently or not long enough as well as failing to floss can also cause tooth decay.
When left untreated, this could cause a tooth infection that needs to be treated with a root canal so the tooth doesn’t need to be extracted.
Gum Disease - Inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to a buildup of plaque, which is a sticky yellow substance made of bacteria. This feeds off of sugars in the mouth and converts them into acids that attack your teeth.
When plaque isn’t removed, it hardens into tartar. Tartar causes gum disease, which causes bone loss and soft tissue damage. Regular dental cleanings and checkups are important because tartar can only be removed by a dentist through a thorough professional cleaning.
Tooth Discoloration - Young adults may start to develop excessive tooth stains and discoloration from eating highly pigmented and acidic foods and drinks, smoking, and plaque buildup. Dental cleanings can remove surface stains and plaque buildup. Deep intrinsic stains can be improved with teeth whitening, dental bonding, or veneers.
Dental Trauma - If your teen plays contact sports or is very active, they may suffer from dental trauma at some point, which can cause damage to the teeth. A mouthguard can protect the teeth from damage from bruxism and oral trauma.
In the case that the teeth do become significantly damaged from injury, we can repair the teeth with dental bonding or in more severe cases, dental crowns, bridges, or implants.
cosmetic Dental Care
Once your child has grown into a young adult, they’ll likely be more concerned with the aesthetics of their smile. There are a variety of options they can choose from to improve discoloration, gaps, chips, or cracks in the teeth as well as altering the size or shape of the teeth, including:
- Teeth whitening
- Dental bonding
- Tooth contouring
- Composite fillings
- Porcelain crowns