Ages 13 – 15

Teenagers and Dental Health

Teenagers are experimenting with many things at this time as they try and decide who they are and what they want to be. Teens have many stresses and expectations on them. They often stay up late into the night and skip their night time toothbrushing routines. They also eat more as they go through growth spurts, and burn more calories because of increased sporting activities. Studying, being on social media or video gaming tend to lead to more snacking, and teens often reach for a sweet drink or sugary treat to make them feel better when feeling stressed. Even worse, some teens start to vape or smoke in an effort to feel like they belong to a group or in response to peer pressure. Unfortunately these changing life styles will often show up in the mouth as cavities, gum disease, increased sensitivity of their teeth and jaws, or in changes to the mouth tissues.

For these reasons it is important to try and help your teen to stick to routines such as twice daily brushing and flossing and to make sure they maintain and develop healthy eating habits. Helping your teen have healthy coping strategies for stress will have life-long benefits and help to keep them safe as they enter adulthood.  Making sure your teen keeps up on their twice yearly dental check-ups is more important than ever, as many problems that develop in the mouth can be reversed if detected early enough. If your teen can be motivated to take responsibility for their own oral health we will have done them a great service for their future.

Please call us and make an appointment for your teenager today!

Bruxism is the clinical term for teeth grinding. Bruxism can cause abnormal wear and sensitivity of the teeth, pain in in the face, and in the jaw joint known as the TMJ. In teenagers, bruxism is fairly common, and is usually brought on by stress. School exams or emotionally upsetting situation such as breaking up with with a friend are common triggers for bruxism which often occurs in the night when you are sleeping.

Bruxism can be relieved by general stress reducing techniques such as exercise and mindful breathing. Some people find over-the-counter pain relievers helpful. You can also try alternating a warm and cold wash cloth over the tender joint, 10 minutes for each temperature. Changing your diet to softer and less chewy foods for a few days can help, and if you are chewing gum you should stop immediately because the high pressures generated from the chewing aggravate pain in the TMJ.

At Small To Tall Dentistry our doctors are trained to recognize problems associated with bruxism. Occasionally it is necessary to provide your teenager with a device called a night guard to prevent the grinding or to provide relief for the jaw pain.

If would like some more information about bruxism, TMJ pain or nightguards, give our office a call and make an appointment for an evaluation.

Mouth guards are a great and relatively inexpensive devices which can prevent serious dental injuries. Injuries occur in a split second. Just like wearing a seatbelt, you need the mouth guard in place before the accident occurs. High impact blows to the mouth cause teeth to break, be moved from their normal position, or even to be completely knocked out of the mouth. The rubbery material used to make the mouth guard protects the teeth when a baseball or elbow unexpectedly crashes into your face!

All dental injuries to the permanent adult teeth have serious life-long consequences, because unlike bones, teeth cannot heal themselves or re-grow after they have been injured. Dental injuries can be very expensive to treat, and may cost up to $20,000 over a life-time, depending on the severity of the injury. Mouth guards can prevent these events. Over-the-counter mouth guards work well if you are able to mold or cut them to fit your mouth comfortably.

Our Team at Small To Tall Dentistry are able to fabricate custom fitting mouth guards which are less bulky and fit more comfortably than the over-the-counter models. Be sure to ask us about mouth guards at your next dental check up, and remember to brush and clean your teeth and mouth guard after you have worn it!

X-ray images are a necessary part of the health assessment of the teeth and jaws. When your teenagers mouth is examined by the Dental Team, only the outer surfaces of the teeth are evaluated, and we cannot see into the jaws! Unfortunately, tooth decay, crooked teeth and pathology usually start beneath the surface of the teeth or in the jaw bone. Our Team at Small To Tall Dentistry are expertly trained in the use of digital X-ray imaging which enhances our understanding of your teenagers developing mouth. This in turn helps us to guide your teenager towards a healthy smile. At Small To Tall Dentistry, we follow the X-ray guidelines set out by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. These guidelines provide maximum safety to our patients from radiation while also providing valuable information about the health of the teeth and jaws. We use modern digital X-ray equipment and scanners to maximize the quality of the images, along with protective lead aprons with thyroid collars to minimizing the exposure of your child’s growing body to radiation. With your permission we are happy to share your teen’s X-ray images with other dental providers in order to limit their repeated exposure to radiation.

It is a fact that the risk of undiagnosed and untreated dental problems is far greater than the risk posed by dental X-rays. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions regarding the recommendations for X-ray images in our office.

We are proud to say that our parents are the best informed parents out there!  Children often have many dental topics unique to their specific age group.  Have questions or wanted to know something more about a certain topic?  Click below to find a ton of useful dental information for your child’s age.