Dental Health for Teens: Answers to Some Common Questions

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Raising a teenager is exciting. It’s fun to watch your teen grow in their confidence and independence and step out and try new things. However, as they navigate new territory, oftentimes so do you! In fact, many days you may feel like you have more questions than answers! Sound familiar? Thankfully, when it comes to dentistry, Eggert Family Dentistry has the information you need to prepare for whatever dental situations arise during your child’s teen years. Let’s take a look at some questions we frequently field from parents of teens and share some information we think you will find helpful!

What kind of cosmetic dentistry is appropriate for my teen?

Most teens struggle with self-confidence and work hard to maintain their image. Chipped, discolored or gaping teeth can play a big role in tanking a teen’s confidence level. Luckily, we offer some effective cosmetic dentistry procedures at Eggert Family Dentistry to benefit your teen. Bonding is an affordable and effective way to repair chipped teeth and can help fill in gaps. Composite or porcelain veneers can help reshape misshapen or unevenly-sized teeth. Also, bleaching options like the  Philips Zoom procedure are perfect for creating a whiter smile.

How do I know if my teen is a candidate for braces?

Few dental situations make a teen feel more self-conscious than crooked teeth. Not only do braces straighten teeth and correct your teen’s bite but because crooked teeth can lead to other oral health problems, braces also reduce the instance of cavities and gum disease. It’s never too early to begin the braces conversation with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff! While we are not an orthodontic office and only provide some Invisalign services, we are happy to refer you to some excellent orthodontists in the area when recommended.

What do I need to know about wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth typically start erupting between the ages of 17-21. However, many people don’t have room in their mouth for this third set of molars and they should be removed. Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff will monitor your teen’s unerupted wisdom teeth with x-rays and oral examinations. If we perceive that your teen’s mouth does not have adequate space for wisdom teeth or if we can see from x-rays that they are coming in crooked, we will refer you to an oral surgeon who can remove them, oftentimes before they even start erupting and causing problems.

My teen plays contact sports. What do I do if they knock out a permanent tooth?

First of all, the best defense against a knocked out tooth is a mouthguard. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff can craft your teen a custom mouthguard that will fit snugly against their teeth and protect them while they’re playing sports. However, we know that in some instances a permanent tooth can get knocked out. Should this happen, it’s best to rinse the tooth in cool water and try and replace the tooth in the socket by having your teen bite down on gauze or a wet washcloth. If the tooth won’t relodge, place it in a small container of milk. In both instances, give us a call right away. We will fit your teen in for an emergency appointment.

How does smoking or vaping affect my teen’s oral health?

We know that smoking is bad for our lungs and parents and educators alike take every opportunity to talk to teens about the dangers of smoking and the risk of lung cancer. But what effect does smoking or vaping have on oral health? It’s important that your teenager knows that smoking causes bad breath, can stain their teeth and tongue, dulls their sense of taste and smell, slows down healing in the mouth and can even lead to tooth loss or mouth cancer. Unfortunately, vaping has become a teenage “acceptable” alternative to smoking. But, it is important to remember that vaping introduces unnatural chemicals into the mouth and the body as well and the long-term effects are expected to be just as harmful as we know smoking to be.

My teen wants to get her tongue pierced. What do I need to know?

Many teens think a tongue piercing is just as harmless as getting their ears pierced but this is simply not true. There are a whole host of complications that can arise from what might seem like a fun teenage fad. Prolonged pain and swelling of the tongue to the point of cutting off the airway are two possible complications. Others include damage to teeth from accidentally biting down on the piercing or clicking it up against teeth and oral infections that can lead to hepatitis or endocarditis. The same issues can occur with lip piercings as well.

At Eggert Family Dentistry, we love our teenage patients! If you or your teen have any additional questions or want to further discuss important ways teens can protect and invest in their smile, give us a call at 651.482.8412 or contact us online.

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