Being so busy with school, first jobs, sports, and socialising, teenagers often don’t place a lot of importance on their dental health! They also tend to eat a lot of junk food. All these factors mean it’s not surprising that many teenagers develop a lot of cavities. At Ashburton Family Dental, we’re committed to helping you and your teenager maintain the best oral health.
Regular checkup and clean
It’s important to try and set a good example for your teenager. If you take good care of your teeth, including a consistent at-home routine and attending regular appointments with Ashburton Family Dental, your teenager will see that good oral hygiene is important to you.
We recommend that your teenager visits us every 6 months for a quick and convenient checkup and clean. This will help to maintain their oral health, as well as assisting with the prevention and early identification of any issues before they become major ones.
By diagnosing and treating problems such as gum disease in their early stages, we can significantly reduce the need for more extensive and time-consuming procedures.
Brushing and flossing
Encourage your teenager to take good care of their teeth by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. Teenagers care a lot about how they look, so try and help your teen understand that bad oral hygiene can lead to stains, bad breath, missing teeth and many other dental problems.
We usually recommend that orthodontic treatment for teenagers begins after all the adult teeth have come through, at around the ages of 11 to 13. Following an assessment of your teenager’s situation, we will discuss with you and your child the most appropriate corrective treatment, explaining the options available for the best long-term result. Depending on your teen’s situation, their treatment will vary; although it most commonly involves fixed braces.
Teenage orthodontic treatment usually lasts for around 6 to 24 months, during which time they will need to attend regular appointments to allow us to monitor their progress and oral health.
When your child’s wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt, or if infection is a constant occurrence, they may become a problem as they grow and develop in each corner of the mouth. In such cases, extraction is often the best solution.
Depending on your child’s individual situation, some wisdom teeth can simply be extracted in our practice under local anaesthesia, while impacted teeth will often require a minor surgical procedure. An examination at Ashburton Family Dental will help us explain the options to suit your teenager’s personal situation.
Before your teenager ventures onto the field to play a contact sport, we highly recommend you visit us to have a mouthguard custom-made. Dental injuries are the most common type of oral facial injury sustained in sports, and can be painful, disfiguring and expensive to treat. Your teenager may also need time off school or work to recover, as well as lengthy and expensive dental treatment.
We recommend a custom-fitted mouthguard as this will offer far more protection and comfort than an over-the-counter version. Worn every time your teenager plays or trains, a custom-made mouthguard acts as your ‘insurance policy’ against dental injuries.
We understand that teenagers love to eat junk food and consume sugary soft drinks. Unfortunately, this diet is ideal for combining with bacteria in the mouth to produce acid, causing decay and potentially tooth loss.
Encourage your teenager to reduce their intake of sugary and starchy drinks and snacks. Make sure you have alternatives for them in the fridge, like cheese, nuts and fresh fruit and vegetables instead of sugary, sweet snacks or cola. A bit of dietary attention now can save big problems in the future.
Medicare Teen Dental Plan
Medicare’s Teen Dental Plan provides financial assistance to help assess the health of teenagers’ teeth, and to introduce preventative strategies to encourage lifetime good oral health habits.
The Teen Dental Plan provides dental benefits of up to $157 per eligible teenager, per calendar year, to help with the cost of a ‘preventative dental check’. This refers to a preventative program comprising an oral examination and, where clinically required, x-rays, scaling, cleaning, and/or other preventative services
Each year, around 1.3 million teenagers aged 12-17 years are sent a voucher for a preventative dental check, to be used that year. To find out more, visit the Australian Government Department of Health page and download the fact sheet.