Pediatric dentists are trained to treat children of all ages, from infancy to young adulthood. Adolescent dentistry is an oft overlooked part of pediatric dentistry, but it’s just as important! Teens have permanent teeth, but their faces and bodies are still growing. They need special dental care as their bodies change, especially if they have braces. It’s important to have a pediatric dentist who your teen trusts and listens to for oral health advice.
Tongue Piercing – Is it Really Cool?
You might not be surprised anymore to see people with pierced tongues, lips or cheeks, but you might be surprised to know just how dangerous these piercings can be.
There are many risks involved with oral piercings, including chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, blood infections, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve disorders, receding gums or scar tissue. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Your tongue could swell large enough to close off your airway!
Common symptoms after piercing include pain, swelling, infection, an increased flow of saliva and injuries to gum tissue. Difficult-to-control bleeding or nerve damage can result if a blood vessel or nerve bundle is in the path of the needle.
Please follow the advice of the American Dental Association and skip the mouth jewelry.
- Tobacco – Bad News in Any Form
- Tobacco in any form can jeopardize your child’s health and cause incurable damage. Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco.
- Smokeless tobacco, also called spit, chew or snuff, is often used by teens who believe that it is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. This is an unfortunate misconception. Studies show that spit tobacco may be more addictive than smoking cigarettes and may be more difficult to quit. Teens who use it may be interested to know that one can of snuff per day delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes. In as little as three to four months, smokeless tobacco use can cause periodontal disease and produce pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakias.
If your child is a tobacco user you should watch for the following that could be early signs of oral cancer:
- A sore that won’t heal.
- White or red leathery patches on the lips, and on or under the tongue.
- Pain, tenderness or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips.
- Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue; or a change in the way the teeth fit together.
Because the early signs of oral cancer usually are not painful, people often ignore them. If it’s not caught in the early stages, oral cancer can require extensive, sometimes disfiguring, surgery. Even worse, it can kill.
Help your child avoid tobacco in any form. By doing so they will avoid bringing cancer-causing chemicals in direct contact with their tongue, gums and cheek.
General dentistry for teens with braces:
Adolescence is a popular time for teens to get their teeth realigned with orthodontic treatment. Whether your child has braces or Invisalign, they will need to be extra careful with their dental hygiene. Straight teeth are no good if they’re cavity ridden!
At Kids Healthy Teeth, our Katy pediatric dentists can work in conjunction with your child’s orthodontist to ensure they’re getting the care they need. Flossing and brushing can be difficult when orthodontic appliances are in the way, but Dr. Chen and Dr. Griffith can show your child how to manuever their floss or toothbrush in order to properly clean their teeth.
Here are a few tips for dental hygiene with braces from our pediatric dentists in Katy:
- Avoid hard, sticky, chewy, crunchy foods like popcorn, seeds, gum, and caramel
- Drink beverages (other than water) with a straw
- Brush at least twice a day
- Floss regularly
- For Invisalign users, always keep the clear trays in their designated container
- For Invisalign users, clean the clear trays regularly
- After braces, wear retainers as directed by the orthodontist
- Drink water regularly
The treatment time for braces is usually between 18 – 24 months. This depends on how well your child takes care of their appliances. Even though they are seeing the orthodontist every 2 – 6 weeks to adjust their braces, your children still need to see the pediatric dentist at least every six months.
It’s still possible to get cavities or gum disease with braces on. Because that can delay treatment time, it’s important to see the pediatric dentist regularly. Our kids dentist can help your child prevent such complications with routine cleanings and exams. Talk to your child’s orthodontist to learn more about dental hygiene with braces.