Children and teenagers can encounter many different dental health challenges as they grow up. From teething all the way to getting their wisdom teeth, oral health is important to maintain throughout one’s life. The following are just a few of the common issues that kids and teens encounter, along with the common solutions.
It’s probably the #1 thing both kids and parents dread regarding oral health: cavities. Close to 20 percent of children will encounter tooth decay. Left untreated, cavities can cause infections, pain, and ultimately, tooth loss. Cavities are preventable, with proper dental hygiene, along with limiting sugary foods and drinks. For younger children, sealants, applied by your dentist, can help prevent cavities. Fluoride treatments can also be of help. If the tooth decay is advance, filling the cavity or even a root canal may needed to save the tooth.
There are two kinds of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis. It’s caused when plaque builds up at the base of teeth, causing them to bleed and to become red and swollen. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, while periodontitis is a more advanced kind of gum disease where the gums become infected and can ultimately cause tooth loss. General oral hygiene practices can help prevent gum disease. With teens, puberty and the surge of hormones can make them even more susceptible to gum disease, so it’s important to teach your children good dental hygiene and to check in on them as teens to help prevent gum disease. A dentist can help restore the health of your child’s gums with antibiotics, deep cleanings, rinses, or other kinds of medications and treatments.
Crowded or Misaligned Teeth
Yet another common dental issue for kids and teens is when teeth come in a crooked or misaligned manner. This happens because there is not enough room, which results in crowding, or too much room, which results in spacing or gapped teeth (called diastema). Besides the cosmetic issues, teeth can be worn down prematurely, a bad bite (called malocclusion), or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) issues (“lock jaw”). Your dentist can connect you to an orthodontist who can help realign your child’s or teen’s teeth.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
This ailment plagues teenagers (starting from around age 15 to age 25), where the third molars, or wisdom teeth, grow in the wrong direction, or because there is not enough room for the tooth to properly come in. The resulting impaction can cause gum disease, tooth decay, damage to nearby teeth, and sinus infections. By having regular dental exams with x-rays, your pediatric dentist can see ahead of time whether wisdom teeth impaction will occur and can help refer your teen to an oral surgeon who can extract the teeth.
Looking for a quality pediatric dentist? Parks Children’s Dentistry provides many dental services to help your children’s teeth remain strong, healthy, and beautiful for years to come. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at (913) 491-5044!