Dental Care for Adolescents (12-18 years old)
Q: Oral Piercings – Is it really cool?
A: Piercing the tongue, lips, cheeks or uvula (the tiny tissue that hangs at the back of the throat) is not as safe as some would have you believe. An oral piercing can interfere with speech, chewing or swallowing and may also cause excessive drooling; infection, pain and swelling; chipped or cracked teeth; injuries to the gums; damage to fillings; hypersensitivity to metals; scar tissue; and nerve damage. So follow the advice of the American Dental Association and give your mouth a break – skip the mouth jewelry.
Q: What effects can tobacco have on oral health?
A: All forms of tobacco—cigarettes, cigars and spit (chewing) tobacco—contain nicotine which is the agent in tobacco that's capable of causing addiction or dependence. Harmful chemicals present in tobacco significantly increase the chances of having a heart attack, stroke or cancer. More specifically, problems within the oral cavity may include oral cancer, periodontal (gum) disease, delayed healing after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery, decreasing options for certain kinds of dental care (smokers can be poor candidates for particular treatments such as implants), bad breath, stained teeth and tongue and diminished sense of taste and smell. The best advice we can you and your child is avoid tobacco in any form!
Q: What can I do to protect my child's teeth and face during sporting activities?
A: Athletic mouth protectors are soft plastic mouth guards made specifically for your child's teeth. They can help protect children from serious head and neck injuries such as concussions and jaw fractures during a sport related injury. In addition, they play a vital role in preventing broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. Increasingly, organized sports are requiring mouth guards to prevent injury to their athletes. Research shows that the more serious injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection. We recommend wearing a mouth guard whenever head trauma is a possibility during a sports activity (i.e. football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, rollerblading, and gymnastics). While a customized mouth guard may cost a little more, they are considerably more comfortable and effective in preventing injuries.