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Teen Dental Care

Dental care is extremely important during the teenage years. Teenagers often neglect the care of their teeth due to a busy schedule: school, sports social activities and jobs. The common fast-food teenager diet has a major effect on their teeth. Combine these two issues with poor brushing and flossing, teenagers are destined to develop dental caries and gum disease. Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry specializes in preventive dental care for teenagers and educating teenagers on good oral hygiene techniques. Their office has teenage friendly game rooms and private dental exam rooms complete with chargers for their electronic devices. They know the best way to decrease anxiety in teenagers is to allow them to use devices to distract them from their surroundings.

Growth and development of the teeth and oral structures occur in many different stages. Here at Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry, we care about all of those different developmental stages and our goal is to provide specific information and services to maintain proper oral health throughout your child’s life. Our teen patients have unique risk factors and needs particular to their age and development.

Increased Risk for Cavities in the Teenage Years

Research has shown that the highest rate of cavity formation is seen during adolescence. There are many possibilities as to why this is the case. Teens can often show a disinterest in proper oral hygiene and unlike younger children, they do not benefit from parental aid in brushing or flossing. In addition, teens have more control over their own diet, which unfortunately does not always lead to beneficial food choices. Increased consumption of cavity-causing foods (namely carbohydrate-rich snacks and drinks) along with an inattention to oral hygiene can lead to dramatic increases in cavity risk. Patients often have the mentality that “if nothing hurts, then nothing is wrong” but the pain is usually only a later symptom of cavities and often a sign of severe decay. It is because of this that routine dental exams are vital to identify and minimize risk factors and areas of concerns before they become cavities.

Increased Risk for Gum Disease in the Teenage Years

Teens can also exhibit an increased risk for gingivitis or periodontal disease. During adolescence, there is a marked increase in circulating hormones, which can have a dramatic effect on gum tissue. Increased hormone levels can alter the bacterial make up in and around the gum tissue. These same hormones can affect blood circulation to the gum tissue. These changes in combination with a lack of proper oral hygiene can lead to gingivitis (gum disease) and eventually periodontitis (loss of bone) in teenagers. Many of our teen patients are also undergoing orthodontic treatment. The presence of braces or other orthodontic appliances further complicates proper brushing and flossing. At each cleaning appointment patients are taught proper brushing techniques and shown any areas in the mouth that need improvement.

Growth and Development of Teeth in the Teenage Years

The teen years are a time of rapid growth and oral development. Most patients will have all of their adult teeth by age thirteen. It is imperative that the eruption of the permanent teeth be monitored so any problems with crowding or impaction can be treated at the appropriate time. At each patient exam, the patient’s bite (or occlusion) is evaluated to determine if any orthodontic intervention is needed. A specific area of development that must be monitored in teens is the formation of the third molars or “wisdom teeth.” Many patients will lack the appropriate amount of space necessary to allow proper eruption of the third molars and may require extraction to avoid future complications. Timely treatment is important as problems with third molars tend to increases with age.

Teenage Sports Related Injuries

As our teen patients get faster and stronger, we tend to see an increase in the prevalence of sports related injuries. The severity of these sports related dental injuries also increases. We recommend that patients wear mouth guards when playing any sport that has a potential for high impact. Here at Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry, we offer custom-made mouth guards which are more comfortable and fit more precisely than over the counter “boil and bite” guards. Patients with upper front teeth that flare out over the lower lip are also at an increased risk of sports related injury and early orthodontic evaluation and treatment can help prevent trauma to these teeth.

General Health

At Lonestar Kid’s Dentistry, we not only care about your teen’s oral health, but their overall health as well. Research shows that teens are at a higher risk for tobacco use and development of teenage eating disorders. It has been found that 20% of High School students use tobacco and that 90% of adult smokers began the habit before the age of 19. Tobacco use can cause specific changes in the mouth and routine dental exams can help identify these and provide resources to stop. Similarly, eating disorders can present with characteristic dental findings, which can aid in identifying problems that could have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Just for Teens

Our office locations have cool features to appeal specifically to our teen patients! We have arcade games, gaming consoles and charging stations. Our special teen rooms provide added privacy for our patients that do not want to have their teeth cleaned in our open bay and each room is equipped with its own monitor equipped with Apple TV so the patient can pick what they want to watch.

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