A question we are often asked is, “Should my teen still see a pediatric dentist or switch to a dentist for adults?”
If you’ve been taking your child to the dentist since an early age, they’ve probably already visited a pediatric dentist instead of a general dentist. But now that your child is becoming older and has adult teeth, you may be wondering, “Should your teen see a pediatric dentist, or when is the right time to switch to an adult dentist?” This is a great question every parent should consider. We say, Yes! Teens should definitely continue to see their pediatric dentist. Here’s why:
Even though it’s true that teenagers aren’t children anymore, growth and changes are still happening in their mouth, face, and jaw, and these changes can impact their oral health. Pediatric dentists like Dr. Banks are specially trained to meet the unique needs of adolescents and teens, from proper oral hygiene education to possible orthodontic services due to teeth-crowding.
Top 4 Reasons Your Teen Should Visit a Pediatric Dentist
Teenagers Continue Growing Throughout Their Teen Years
Even though all their baby teeth are gone and have been replaced with their permanent teeth, their jaw and face are still growing and changing. Pediatric dentists understand this and are specially trained to monitor the growth and changes. For this reason, many childhood patients continue with their pediatric dentist until between the ages of 18 and 22 when their mouth has finished growing and developing.
Orthodontic Services May be Needed
The teenage years are generally when a child will be considered for orthodontic treatment. Due to your teen’s continued growth, their jaw growth may not keep up with permanent teeth, which can cause issues with crowding and impaction. As your child’s permanent teeth erupt, there are very specific issues that a pediatric dentist will include in their evaluation. Tooth crowding, bite and teeth impaction are all going to be on a pediatric dentist’s checklist when seeing a teenager. We are the best ones to help you know when to contact an orthodontist and are happy to give local referrals or even help you proceed with orthodontics at our office!
Wisdom Teeth Issues in Young Adults
Wisdom teeth, the third set of molars located in the back of the mouth, typically come in between the late teens to early 20s. Wisdom tooth eruption can often cause pain, crowding, or even tooth decay. Since this area is difficult to keep clean, it is a vulnerable place for bacteria to grow, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Pediatric dentists can help detect problems or issues that can occur when wisdom teeth begin to appear.
Independence and Responsibility
Teen years can be challenging, but ultimately, your kids are learning to take care of themselves and lead productive, independent lives. These years are a good time for us to help teens develop the ability to make healthy nutritional choices, understand how to handle their dental needs more independently, and prepare them for the future when mom and dad are no longer making decisions for them. Also, teens have unique challenges with their dental health such as a risk of sports injuries, diets high in carbohydrates and sugars, and the presence of orthodontic appliances.
Once teens hit 18, we recommend they begin visiting a general or adult dentist. By this time, they have usually stopped growing, experienced orthodontic treatment, had their wisdom molars managed, and are more responsible for taking care of their own oral health.
Parents Choose Pediatric Dentistry for their Teens
At Kitsap Kid’s Dentistry, we make visiting the dentist easy for both parents and teens with a welcoming atmosphere and compassionate staff. Take charge of your teen’s oral health today!