5 Teenage Dental Health Issues
1. Teeth crowding and misalignment
It is often during the teenage years when children become most conscious of their teeth and when orthodontic solutions become necessary. Between the ages of 10 and 14, most adult teeth have come through, making such treatments possible. Within this age bracket, the corrective dental solution can work hand in hand with the final growth stages of teeth structure.
Orthodontic treatments such as braces or invisible aligners can help to straighten teeth into the correct alignment, restore function and reduce tooth pain. Whether traditional braces or Suresmile aligners will be the correct treatment will depend on your teenager’s unique dental needs. Although many teenagers may prefer the invisible nature of invisible aligners offered by your dentist, we will refer your teen to an specialist orthodontist to provide the best advice for orthodontic treatment.
2. Wisdom teeth eruption
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, usually erupt at the back of the mouth when a person enters their late teens, that’s if they have wisdom teeth at all. Although they can also erupt in a person’s twenties or later. The issue with these problematic teeth is that they are often ‘impacted’; they cannot come through the gums because they are emerging on the wrong angle or there isn’t enough room for them
According to dental experts, impaction of wisdom teeth can result in gum infection, tooth decay, pain, bleeding, swelling, bruising, wisdom tooth pain, and other symptoms. It is a good idea to alert your teen to the possibility of their wisdom teeth erupting so they know to let you know if they experience any pain or disruption at the back of their mouth.
To assess your teenager’s wisdom teeth, the Dentist will usually take an X-ray after an initial consultation. The wisdom tooth removal procedure is usually carried out by your Dentist while the patient is under local anaesthetic. Post-operation, the healing process can take a few days. Light and liquid foods are usually recommended by your dental professional during this period. Cases may also be referred to an oral surgeon for removal.
3. Tooth damage due to new habits
Teenage children are at a heightened risk of dental disease. Around 50% of children aged 12 to 15 have a decayed, missing or filled permanent tooth or teeth; on average, every 15 year old has two teeth that have been impacted in some way.
Emerging into young adulthood and through the teenage years can present a range of new risks that can compound on earlier damage which may have been caused. This can result in shooting pain in tooth, throbbing tooth pain that comes and goes in waves, and other dental pain.
A lot of teenagers will feel cravings for junk food and may not necessarily put great importance on their dental hygiene routine. As we see at our dentist, this can result in increased decay, plaque, cavities, infection, gum bleeding or disease, and other complications.
As teenagers explore their identity and join new social groups, there is also the chance that smoking and alcohol will impact on their oral health. Smoking can cause gum disease or tooth loss, teeth discolouration and oral cancer in the longer term, so it pays to monitor for these behaviours
4. Trauma during sports
If your child participates in high-contact sports, it’s highly important that they wear a custom mouthguard, moulded to fit their teeth perfectly by your dentist. Collisions on the field when playing hockey, rugby, Aussie rules football, waterpolo, soccer or other sports can result in the loss of teeth, chipped teeth, cut lips, extreme tooth pain, gums, tongue or cheeks, and other dental damage.
On top of this, dental trauma during high contact sports can result in a lengthy recovery process that requires time off of school. Every dentist recommends that you take the simply precaution of having a custom mouthguard made by a dentist nearby.
5. Oral piercings
At our dentist, we see many teenagers and adults with oral piercings to their lips, cheek or tongue. Our dentists are non-judgmental of all lifestyle decisions, but we can advise on how a particular decision will impact oral health and can help to ensure that your teenager will be able to maintain their oral health if they do get an oral piercing.
It is highly important to consult your dentist if this is going to happen or has happened, so the associated risks can be reduced. Certain risks are associated with teenage oral piercings that your dentist can help to manage. These include infection due to bacteria in the mouth, swelling and pain at the point of the piercing, bleeding that will not stop, gum injury, disruption of normal mouth function, or cracked, chipped or damaged teeth – for example caused by biting down on the piercing by accident.