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Riverpark Dental

First Visit

A teen’s first visit to Riverpark Dental is comparable to an adult’s first visit, but approached in a more gentle manner to keep the teen’s younger age in consideration.

The dentist will take x-rays so we can track your teen’s developing teeth and any permanent teeth below the gums. Our hygienist’s will give their teeth a thorough cleaning evaluate areas they’re missing in their home dental care routine.

A full examination will be done to identify any future need for dental treatment. There may be age-related treatment for your teen for recommendation. We may suggest sealants to prevent food particles and plaque from forming in the deeper grooves on the molar’s biting surfaces. Depending on your child’s current bite alignment, we may propose orthodontic care for the future. Young adult’s often have imperfections in their teeth alignment and braces are a common treatment antidote. Wisdom teeth extractions are another common appearance in a teen’s treatment outlook.

Education

Eruption of Teeth

The first teeth to erupt are the first molars (most anterior molars) and lower central incisors (bottom front teeth) at approximately age 6. Your teeth continue to erupt until age 21, finishing with your third molars (wisdom teeth) for a total of 32 teeth, or 28 after wisdom teeth extraction.

Second Molars: these teeth typically erupt between the ages of 12-14. In the majority of cases at this age, oral hygiene habits are in their developing stages and likely at their worst. It is important to closely monitor teens in this age group with 6-month checkups and disciplined home dental care.

Wisdom Teeth: these teeth typically erupt around ages 17-21 and are likely accompanied with significant jaw pain. A panoramic x-ray will be taken around this age so we can see the position of the wisdom teeth and determine our approach in removal. It is important that teens who are receiving orthodontic care also have a wisdom teeth evaluation. This is because when the wisdom teeth’s presence and eruption can cause teeth crowding.

Swollen Gums: gingivitis (swollen gums) often occurs when a teen is going through hormonal changes. It can also occur if your teen is a mouth breather, in which case their mouth becomes dry and their saliva amounts are reduced. Consequentially, this inhibits their ability to wash away bacteria and so creates an avenue for gingivitis to foster. You can see early signs of gingivitis if your teen’s gums are red instead of pink, or bleed when they brush or floss.

Oral Hygiene for Teens

The majority of teenagers are not as proactive and effective in their dental care as they should be. The statistics show that 80% of teenagers have suffered a cavity and needed the resultant treatment by age 17. In addition, 80% of tooth decay patients happen to be teenagers.

Moreover, teenagers have a tendency to consume more sugary snacks and drinks than other ages and thus are at a higher risk for developing cavities. To help your teen get past these scary times for their teeth, here are some tips that will help establish great dental health habits:

  • Monitor them and empower them with knowledge of why they should brush their teeth twice per day.
  • Floss their teeth at least once per day, preferably after each meal.
  • Ensure they are choosing healthy beverage options like milk and wholesome organic fruit juices. Pop should be kept to a minimum of one can per day and followed with teeth brushing. If teeth can’t be brushed immediately afterward, have them wash their mouth with water to get rid of the leftover acids and sugars in their mouth.
  • If your teen drinks pop, it should be consumed quickly and with a meal so that the acids and sugars don’t stay in the mouth for long.
  • Be aware of when they are consuming sugar, which should never be before bed and especially never after they brush their teeth.• Make it a non-negotiable for them to attend their dental checkups and hygiene appointments.
  • Steer them away from sweet and sticky snacks. These have a higher likelihood of getting caught between teeth and other hard to reach areas. Also considering this is when brushing habits are developing, so something sticky and sweet could be missed and left in their mouth after they brush their teeth- whether throughout the day or overnight. Some better choices for your teen are popcorn, fruits and vegetables.
  • Promote oral health to your teenager. A great idea is when your teen is assigned a school report or presentation is to make it about proper oral health care and tooth decay.

Tongue Piercing- How Cool Is It Really?

Facial piercings in the lips, cheeks, and tongue are becoming ever more prevalent in young adults. It is common for teenagers and their parents to be unaware of the risks associated with these sort of piercings, which include:

  • Chipped/cracked teeth
  • Blood clots
  • Blood infection
  • Heart infection
  • Brain lesion
  • Nerve disorders
  • Gum recession or scaring
  • Scarred tissue

Tobacco- Bad News in Any Form

Any form of tobacco is a major threat to your teen’s health, whether it be in smoked or smokeless form.

Smokeless tobacco is typically addressed on the street as spit, chew, dip, or snuff. Unfortunately, many teens interpret chewing tobacco to be a safer alternative to cigarettes, but this is not the case as chewing tobacco has shown to be more addictive. Something teens should take to heart is that one tin can of snuff brings the same amount of nicotine as 60 cigarettes. When chewing tobacco habits increase, it is common for users to use one can or more per day. Periodontal disease can arise with only four months of smokeless tobacco use and also cause pre-cancerous oral blisters called leukoplakia’s.

Some signs of oral cancer caused by tobacco are:

  • Sores that don’t get better.
  • Tender or painful areas in the mouth.
  • Leathery areas on the lips or tongue that are white or red.
  • Problems in chewing, swallowing, speaking, or jaw mobility.

It is important to be highly aware of oral cancer’s early signs, as many people ignore them due to their low levels of pain. If it progresses past the early stages, oral cancer can require major and face-altering surgery. If you have any suspicion of oral cancer in your teeth, please bring them in and we will conduct an oral cancer screening.

Periodontal Disease In Teens

The word “periodontal” means around the tooth, and is also known as gum disease. It is caused by bacteria that destroy gum tissue and the teeth and jaw’s supporting structures such as surrounding bones, tooth membranes, and tooth root coverings.

Periodontal disease can be devastating if left untreated. If not addressed, it will eventually spread and eat away at the bones underneath the teeth, which provide the structural support for the teeth to stay in place. Periodontal disease affects 75% of people at some point in their lifetime, and the chronic form of the disease contributes to 70% of tooth loss cases.

Periodontal disease follows a similar path of development as other oral diseases: plaque build-up creates a comfortable environment for bacteria to house in and cause damage. Statistics show that plaque build-up is the key contributor to diseases involving the gums. Periodontal disease can also be caused by:

  • Genetics.
  • Neglected oral hygiene.
  • Food packing between teeth and in gums.
  • Breathing through the mouth.
  • Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Low nutrient diet.
  • Smoking.
  • Diabetes.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Persistent teeth grinding.

Periodontal disease is the primary cause in adult tooth loss, with 66% of young adults and 50% of teenagers travailing through the disease. Periodontal diseases shares many of the same symptoms as other medical conditions. A consultation with a dentist at Riverpark Dental will help determine if whether you’re in need of our periodontal program based on your symptoms, which may include:

  • Swollen, tender, red gums.
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing.
  • Gum recession.
  • Persistent bad breath.
  • Wiggling teeth.
  • Shifted jaw/bite alignment.

We can come to a conclusion on the diagnosis after reviewing your teen’s medical history and performing a thorough physical exam on the mouth. If the diagnosis is positive, we will take x-rays to analyze the disease.

Depending on the development of the disease, periodontal disease can be divided into categories.

Forms of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

Gum disease in its mildest form is known as gingivitis and is characterized by swollen, red, sensitive gums that bleed with daily brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is then further categorized into primarily acute, sub-acute, recurrent, and chronic divisions.

Primarily acute: a sudden appearance which doesn’t last for long and is not always painful.
Sub-acute: a minimally dangerous form of gingivitis.
Recurrent: a form of gingivitis that comes back after already being treated.
Chronic: a form of gingivitis that settles in gradually, doesn’t go away as easily, and is in most cases painless.

Gingivitis is not a major concern in and of itself and can easily be addressed with proper and consistent dental care. The main concern with gingivitis is addressing it as quickly as possible to prevent it from progressing into periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is further divided into mild, moderate, and advanced phases.

Mild: resultant of neglected gingivitis and where we see bone deterioration appearing.
Moderate-Advanced: clear evidence of major bone and tissue deterioration.

Symptoms:

  • Red, bleeding gums.
  • Loose teeth.
  • Loss of teeth.

Proper management of the disease is crucial to prevent further damage from occurring. Our dentists will decide based on the case, made variable by age, medical history, and current health, for which treatment option to proceed with. Other factors include how tolerant your teen is to medications, remedies, and procedures. We also need to consider how you and your teen feel about treatment when deciding on the proper approach. Periodontal disease treatment most likely involves removing plaque, medication, and in the most major cases a surgical procedure.

Eating Disorders

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder entailing repeated binge-eating and followed by induced vomiting. The induced vomiting erodes away tooth enamel as stomach acids repeatedly wash over and damage the teeth. Anorexia nervosa is the excessive fear of weight gain that often includes vomiting. Our dentists can help with the destroyed tooth enamel, but the eating disorder is the root cause and needs to be addressed by a psychological professional.

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