Contrary to popular assumption, pediatric dentistry is not just about treating children. We treat young people, whether the patient is a baby, toddler, or even teenager. In fact, we often treatment patients well into adulthood. For example, many of our patients stay with us throughout college.
By the time we reach 12-12 years of age, most of us have lost our baby teeth. Other than wisdom teeth, which usually appear by the time we turn 21, we’re now dealing with our so-called “adult”, or permanent, teeth.
The definition of an adolescent is not fixed. Broadly speaking, however, we consider patients between the ages of 10 and 18. Adolescents require specialized treatment for a variety of reasons, including:
Adolescents are in the middle of an important point in their physical development. Medical studies suggest that periodontal disease that begins in adolescence can lead to irreversible tissue damage. This particular age group also has a higher risk of developing gingivitis.
It is important that proper dental habits are instilled at a young age. We can help adolescents create an age-appropriate routine that helps to maintain teeth and gum health. Regular professional intervention is key to catching issues before they become serious problems.
High Risk of Caries
Compared to children, adolescents usually have more independence when it comes to their diet. Unfortunately, this often comes paired with poor diet choices that include sugary drinks and foods. The result? A high risk of caries activity.
Pediatric dentists have the experience to guide and treat adolescents. For example, we can apply fluoride treatment based on a caries risk assessment. We can remove calculus and plaque, lowering the risk of developing caries.
Adolescents are far more likely to sustain traumatic injuries due to sports than children or adults. Falls, contact with hard surfaces, and collisions with other players, can lead to both facial and dental injuries. It is important that children are given the necessary precautionary measures, such as mouthguards. We have the experience to both help your child with the necessary protective equipment and treating injuries as a result of trauma.
Adolescents are particularly susceptible to experimentation with harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. For example, 90% of adult smokers began before they reached the age of 19!
In addition to the wider health risks that substance abuse brings, it’s also incredibly damaging to your teeth. For example, tobacco can cause discoloration. Other drugs can cause tooth decay, gum recession, bruxism, and other dental issues.
If you’re a parent reading this page, then you’ll remember how important it was to look good in front of your peers when you were younger. This includes having a nice, bright, and white smile. Adolescents are often worried that they’re teeth look a little too yellow, especially when they (unfairly) compare themselves to celebrities.
This poses a huge health risk, as home whitening treatments can be extremely harmful. The safest and most effective way to achieve a “Hollywood smile” is to get it done professionally. It will give your child a confidence boost without the damaging secondary effects of other treatments.
The benefits of proper orthodontic treatment and care go far beyond a more pleasing appearance; they include teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime and a healthier mouth. If you’re interested in undergoing orthodontic care, contact Cochran Orthodontics today to schedule your appointment.
City Base Children’s Dentistry | 2246 SE Military Dr. | San Antonio, TX 78223