Dental Facts 10-20 Years Old
Children’s dentistry has always been a special interest of mine. I was a Daddy before I finished dental school and I have always had a natural gift for making children comfortable during their dental appointments.
Below are some key facts parents should remember:
During this time, it is important to keep up the cleanings, fluoride and 6-month check-ups. This period is the end of the mixed dentition stage. Around age 12, the last baby teeth come out and your child will have a full set of adult teeth. They may look too big at age 12, but by age 18, when the facial skeleton has finished growing, they will look perfect.
This is the time to evaluate your child for braces. Most children derive a health benefit, as well as an esthetic benefit from orthodontic care. The middle school years are the ideal time for this treatment. Your child will love you if you time it so that the 2nd year treatment is over when they start high school.
By this time, parents are typically done with the big stuff. However, it is very important to keep up with the professional checkups and cleanings. I have seen hundreds of kids who grew up with great dental treatment, but get into bad habits as young adults. The resulting damage to the mouth is treatable, but completely avoidable.
At this age, it is a good time to start wearing a night guard to bed. For the first time in history, people are expecting to live into their 80’s with all of their teeth. Over such a long period, teeth will wear down and sometimes break. In order to help avoid treatment needed to rebuild our teeth in our middle years, we should prevent wear just as vigorously as we prevent cavities. By simply wearing a bite guard to bed, people are able to significantly reduce wear and tear on their teeth.
The last big decision for this age group focuses on the wisdom teeth. About 85% of the population does not have the required room for these 3rd molars. Your child needs to be evaluated at this age to see if these extra teeth will be liabilities or assets. Removing these teeth between the ages of 15 and 17 is easier because the roots are not fully formed. This means they can be removed with less complication at this age than at any other time.
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