Maybe your teen doesn’t still rely on you to make sure they brushed their teeth at night — one great thing about teens and oral health is they suddenly care about keeping their teeth as white as possible. But that doesn’t mean your job caring for his or her smile is over. Your dentist in Burlington knows teens need your help more than ever. Keep reading for five things you should know about teenagers and oral health, from Dr. Kostas.
#1: Wisdom Teeth May Emerge
Wisdom teeth extraction has become so common it’s almost a rite of passage around the time of high school graduation. While some people are lucky enough to be born without wisdom teeth, many will need to have these third molars removed at some point.
To help you prepare, it can be a good idea to have your younger teen’s mouth checked for the presence to wisdom teeth with a digital x-ray around age 13 or 14. Your dentist can evaluate any teeth and determine whether or not they are likely to cause problems if they do erupt. Wisdom teeth extraction is far easier in younger patients, so preventive removal of the third molars may be advisable in certain cases.
#2: Consider Alternative Orthodontic Treatments
Conventional metal braces often go hand-in-hand with teendom — and you may have your own memories of feeling insecure over a mouthful of metal. There are options for teens who can’t bear the thought of enduring two or more years wearing metal brackets and wires. At Complete Dental Care, we offer MTM® clear aligners. It stands for minor tooth movement, and the system is a good alternative for image-conscious teens who can adhere to the care and use of removable braces.
#3: Observe Whitening Habits
As we mentioned before, many teens are particularly concerned about the shade of their teeth. If your teen uses whitestrips or other at-home whitening treatments, keep a close eye out to make sure they are being used as directed. Over-the-counter whitening is often overused or abused, as people continue bleaching even after the treatment is complete. Unfortunately, using the high-powered gel for too long weakens the tooth enamel and puts patients at a higher risk of tooth sensitivity and decay.
#4: Continue to Emphasize Healthy Habits
Remind your teen that beautiful smiles are built on regular, thorough brushing and flossing. Discuss how brushing the teeth for two minutes, twice a day, and flossing once daily removes the plaque that turns into visible yellow tartar. And if you think your teen is at-risk of using tobacco, remind them of the risks tobacco has on the mouth as well as the dangers for overall health.
#5: Schedule Regular Checkups and Cleanings
Preventive dental care is a crucial aspect of every healthy mouth. Help your teen emerge from some of the most trying years with a strong, beautiful smile by staying on top of their six month checkups and cleaning. Request an appointment for you and your child at Complete Dental Care today!