We’ve written in the past about tips for taking care of your younger children’s teeth, so let’s turn our attention to the next phase of life. As your child becomes a teen, there are a few dental developments that occur, and ensuring you can recognise any signs and symptoms of trouble will go a long way in obtaining early treatment.
As your child grows up, they will go through many physical changes. These changes can play a role in their oral health. Educating your teen about what they can expect will enable them to take control of their dental health and ensure that they’re not only taking good care of their teeth and gums but also that they’re aware of any danger signs.
Hormone Changes and Gingivitis
Particularly relevant to teen girls, the increase in progesterone and estrogen levels during puberty can cause a change in blood flow to the gums. Sensitivity and discomfort may arise from this. During puberty, your teen may feel gum irritation, swelling, or bleeding. This can lead to gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. While gingivitis in and of itself isn’t too harmful, it must be dealt with promptly, as it can go on to become periodontitis if left untreated. Periodontitis can cause tooth and bone loss, in addition to other serious health outcomes, so it’s critical to deal with gingivitis while it’s still mild. Hormone changes can also make the gums more sensitive to plaque and tartar buildup, so ensuring that your teen is brushing, flossing, and using antibacterial mouthwash is very important.
The Possibility of Braces or Other Orthodontia
If your child suffers from a misaligned bite or crooked teeth, the teen years are the best time to fix those issues. Ensuring that your teen receives orthodontic treatment to correct misalignments will increase their chances of maintaining good dental health. This is because straighter teeth are easier to clean effectively, reducing the chance of food particles or other debris becoming trapped between overlapping teeth. This minimises the risk of developing cavities or gum disease.
With multiple options for realignment treatment available, including traditional metal braces, clear plastic aligners and retainers, and tooth-coloured, discreet ceramic braces, there is no reason for your teen to feel self-conscious about undergoing realignment treatment. However, ensuring that your teen is paying extra special attention to their oral hygiene routine while they are undergoing orthodontic treatment is paramount; you may need to monitor their diet and ensure that they are brushing and flossing appropriately.
The Appearance of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to appear and tend to come through in the late teen years. They can cause several problems, so making sure your teen knows what to watch for is incredibly important. Signs of possible trouble include pain, swelling, and tenderness at the very back of the jaw. A further sign that something is amiss with your teen’s wisdom teeth is a gradual shift in the alignment of their teeth. If you notice that teeth are starting to overlap or change positions, it’s a key sign that the wisdom teeth are pushing against neighbouring teeth. Making sure your teen is attending their six-monthly check-ups will enable us to keep an eye on their wisdom teeth and make plans for extraction should they appear to be causing problems. Wisdom tooth removal is common, and having it done as a teen is beneficial for some reasons. As a teen, the roots of the wisdom teeth are not yet fully formed and developed, making their removal a less arduous process. In addition, teens tend to be generally healthy, meaning that they recover quickly and are less likely to suffer any side effects.
How Can We Help?