By their early teens, most teenagers have developed almost all of their permanent teeth (except, in most cases, the wisdom teeth), and preventative oral hygiene and sometimes orthodontics will take precedence in their dental care.
Oral Hygiene & Prevention
As your teen grows up and matures, becoming more independent, responsible, and self-sufficient, be sure you continue to instill the importance of oral hygiene in them.
Ideally, healthy oral hygiene habits have been developed throughout childhood, and will continue now; the main difference being that your teen will be fully in charge of his or her oral health, instead of you!
Of course, you can continue to ensure that your child visits the dentist every 6 months, and that he or she has all the toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, and other equipment necessary for good at-home oral hygiene. But the actual work of cleaning and caring for his or her teeth is your teen’s responsibility!
Diet may become more of an issue during the teen years. Teenagers are more independent, and so it’s not as easy for moms and dads to carefully monitor all of their food and drink choices.
The best you can do at this stage is to make lots of wholesome food available at home, and continue to emphasize the importance of both good oral hygiene and a nutritious, varied diet.
If your child has developed malocclusion (misalignment) issues, now is the time that orthodontic treatment will likely begin.
In some cases, younger children can undergo Stage One (Early Interceptive) Orthodontic Treatment, but whether or not this has been the case with your child, the teen years are the ideal time for orthodontic treatment.
This is because all the adult teeth will have developed, but the mouth as a whole is still somewhat malleable and therefore more responsive to treatment at this age, than it will be as your teen gets older.
Wisdom teeth typically make their appearance in the late teens or early 20s. For some people they can come in earlier or later, however.
Most of the time, wisdom teeth need to be removed, as they can cause crowding and other misalignment issues. Sometimes, they can get stuck below the gum surface because there’s just not enough room for them to emerge, or because they’re growing in in the wrong direction.
Once the wisdom teeth have arrived (and probably removed), your child will finally be completely finished growing his or her teeth!
This can be an emotional time for many parents, as they see their child making the final transitions from childhood to adulthood. But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to be a good oral health influence in your child’s life!