Dental care for adolescents presents its own set of challenges. This is an exciting time in your child's life as they develop from children to young adults. We enjoy watching our patients make that change; however, their newfound independence, changes in diet, and sometimes a decreased motivation often increases their risks of dental decay. Our staff is fully trained to connect with adolescent patients, discuss oral hygiene issues, and help them with positive reinforcement to develop good hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.
We find it especially rewarding to hear of our patient's activities and successes through middle school, high school, and even the early college years. We are their biggest cheerleaders throughout the whole way helping guide them with healthy habits. We are very proud of what our patients accomplish when they eventually age out and "graduate" to an adult dentist. Our job is to help them become great dental patients with a lifetime of good oral health.
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 poisoning, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve disorders (trigeminal neuralgia), 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.
So follow the advice of the American Dental Association and give your mouth a break - 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.