Pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with children of all ages, including teens. They can educate your teen about the importance of dental health and encourage them to make good choices to protect their smiles. The dental hygiene habits that were established in their youth are the ones that they’ll carry into adulthood. So it’s a great choice to start your child at a pediatric dentist you trust, and allow them to continue care through their teen years as they enter young adulthood.
84% of 17-year-olds have dental caries (untreated cavities).
When your teen comes in for their appointment, the first thing they’ll do is meet their dentist to discuss their oral health. Their dentist will ask about their health history, any past oral health issues or trauma, and how they feel about their smile. If you have any dental records for your teen, they should be shared with our team, so the doctor can consult them and provide more accurate assessment and diagnosis of your teen’s oral health.
Your teen’s dentist or a dental hygienist will perform a brief check of your teen’s teeth, then begin cleaning away plaque and tartar with a scaler. Their teeth will then be buffed and polished with a high-powered toothbrush, and flossed. After the cleaning, your teen’s dentist will examine their mouth and look for signs of gum disease, cavities, and other oral health issues. X-rays may be recommended if your teen has not had them recently.
If your teen’s mouth is healthy, you’ll schedule their next cleaning six months from this appointment. But if the dentist has noticed a potential issue like a cavity, gum disease, or any other oral health problem, they’ll discuss treatment recommendations with you and your teen. You’ll also schedule a follow-up appointment to get the treatment your teen needs for a healthy smile.
Teens are very independent, and should be able to take care of brushing and flossing on their own. They should brush twice a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste, and floss once per day to maintain a healthy smile. It can be helpful to remind your teen about brushing and flossing if they’re busy or distracted. You shouldn’t have to nag them, just make sure they’re not forgetting or neglecting their oral health.
If your teen is complaining about a sore tooth or a tooth that’s sensitive to heat, cold, the pressure of chewing, or sugary foods, this is a sign that they may be suffering from tooth decay. If your teen thinks they may have a cavity, we recommend scheduling an appointment with their pediatric dentist as soon as you can.
Your child will have all of their adult teeth by the age of 12 or 13, but their faces and jaws are still growing. This makes the pre-teen and teen years the ideal time for orthodontia. It’s easier to realign their smiles with orthodontic treatment like braces and Invisalign at this time.
So be on the lookout for signs of misalignment that may indicate the need for orthodontic treatment. If your teen’s teeth are visibly crooked or crowded, or you notice an issue like an overbite or underbite, you should schedule an orthodontic consultation to explore your options for correcting their smile.
It’s harder to control your teen’s diet as they grow and become more independent, but do your best to encourage them to eat foods that are good for their teeth and their bodies. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, dairy like milk and yogurt, and whole grains. Try to reduce their consumption of sugary snacks like candy and cookies, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and other such foods that can contribute to the development of cavities.
Regular dental appointments are essential for keeping your teen’s oral health on track. Make sure that you schedule a cleaning with your teen’s dental hygienist or pediatric dentist every six months. Seeing the dentist regularly will help your teen avoid common oral health issues like cavities and gum disease, and set them up for healthy dental habits in the future.
Dentists can make custom mouthguards for teens who play sports.
Pediatric dentists specialize in treating kids of all ages, and this includes teenagers. Pediatric dentists typically treat teens up to the age of 18, and are deeply familiar with the oral health issues that face teenagers, such as oral developmental problems that may require orthodontic treatment, as well as gum disease and cavities. Thanks to their expertise, a pediatric dentist will be able to cater their approach and care to your teen and help them achieve better oral health.
Cavities and gum disease are major concerns with teenagers. Teenagers make their own decisions about what they eat and drink, and they may be used to consuming sugary foods or beverages as snacks between classes or for extra energy throughout the day.
This is also a time in life when experimenting with drugs and alcohol is common. Most smokers start in their teen years, and these new vices can increase their risk of oral health issues.
Older teens can also experience issues with their wisdom teeth. They can begin to erupt as early as age 17, and may need to be removed if they’re not growing in properly. If your teen is suddenly complaining about jaw pain or headaches, this may be a sign that wisdom teeth are coming and you should consult with their doctor.
If your teen is getting orthodontic treatment with braces, make sure that they stick to their dietary restrictions. Hard foods like popcorn kernels and sticky foods like gum or chewy candy can damage or dislodge their brackets, and delay their treatment.
Teens with Invisalign are responsible for wearing their aligners for at least 20-22 hours per day, so you may need to keep an eye on your teen and ensure they are wearing their aligners whenever possible. This will help keep their treatment on track.
We recommend treating your teen like an adult. Let them know that taking care of their teeth now will ensure that their smile remains healthy, strong, and bright for years to come. But if they start neglecting their oral care, they can suffer from issues like teeth staining, gum disease, tooth decay, or even tooth loss, which could negatively affect their oral health, appearance, self-esteem, and checkbook.
You should also set a good example, and take proper care of your teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist every six months for preventive care to keep your mouth healthy and strong as well.
Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25.