Today’s teens are incredibly busy. Between school work, part-time jobs, sports, and other extracurricular activities, it can be hard to find time for sleep, let alone pencil in time to worry about dental hygiene. Unfortunately, dental problems don’t care what your schedule looks like, and teenagers are no exception to this. Here are a few common tooth problems that we see teenagers face in our Indiana office. If you were dealing with any of them, it might be worthwhile to make some time to come in for an appointment.
Crooked or misaligned teeth affect around 70 percent of the U.S. population. The condition can impact the way your smile appears, but it can also cause problems like tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, jaw pain, and headaches. Fortunately, there are many orthodontic options for treating the situation. Many think of braces as a rite of passage for teenagers, and it is true that they are a great solution. In recent years, however, Invisalign has emerged as a popular alternative that uses no metal wires or brackets, is virtually invisible, can be removed at any time (hello, prom and other special occasions!), and has the same great results.
Cavities aren’t necessarily specific to teenagers alone, but they are definitely common among this age group. Teenagers are likely to see this type of decay if they did not have great oral hygiene as a kid and it is now catching up to them. Other causes might include an increase in the consumption of sugary foods and beverages (energy drinks, anyone?). It’s important to tackle any tooth pain or sensitivity before it becomes a larger problem down the line.
When teens start to feel an ache toward the back of their mouths, it is almost always a sure sign that wisdom teeth are getting ready to erupt. Most teenagers do experience this growth, although it affects everyone in different ways. Unfortunately, despite their name, the development of wisdom teeth doesn’t promise that teens will gain any extra knowledge. In fact, these additions might do nothing but cause trouble, including misalignment. The most common recommendation is for wisdom teeth to be extracted through a surgical procedure. Patients are administered anesthesia and require some time at home for recovery. Once wisdom teeth are out, they are out for good and should not cause any more problems.
Between early practices, late night adventures, and short moments in the hall between classes, some teenagers find it hard to squeeze in a regular dental hygiene routine. Still, the results of taking care of teeth are well worth the hassle. In fact, developing a standard routine during high school can be helpful in maintaining it after graduation and on down the line. It’s important to brush and floss daily, and to make time for a deep tooth cleaning and check-ups with a dentist twice a year. Teens would also be wise to avoid habits like tobacco use, which can be easy to form, difficult to break, and incredibly damaging to the mouth over time.