Adolescent Dentistry Mt. Airy, MD

As your child grows from a child to an adolescent, their dental needs change. Problems like tobacco use, body modifications, or simply crooked teeth can affect their dental health. We offer pediatric dentistry services to teenagers. An integral part of pediatric dentistry is our adolescent dentistry in our Mt Airy, MD, office. Here, we will review common problems among teens that can impact their dental health.

Adolescent Dentistry Mt Airy MD

Tongue Piercing – Is It Cool?

You might not be surprised anymore to see people with pierced tongues, lips, or cheeks. However, you might be surprised to know how dangerous these piercings can be.

There are many risks involved with oral piercings, including:

  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Blood clots
  • Heart infections
  • Blood poisoning
  • Brain abscesses
  • Nerve disorders (trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Receding gums
  • Scar tissue

Your mouth contains millions of bacteria. 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, increased saliva flow, and gum tissue injuries. 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.

Teens often use smokeless tobacco, also called spit, chew, or snuff. Some may believe smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. This is an unfortunate misconception. Studies show that spit tobacco may be more addictive than smoking cigarettes. It may also 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 gum disease. It can also 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 how 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.

At regular dental visits, we can look for signs of oral cancer with a visual exam. Regular dental care and quitting tobacco products can help reverse the damage.

Does My Child Need Braces?

Crooked and misaligned teeth are common problems we treat with adolescent dentistry in our Mt. Airy, MD office. If you notice that your child has problems like crooked teeth or a misaligned bite at an early age, they may need two-phase treatment. This treatment provides orthodontic appliances for children at an early age, typically around age six. Treatment continues when children receive braces.

However, most children may begin orthodontic treatment with braces in their tweens or teens. Metal braces are some of the most common orthodontic treatments for tweens and teens. They consist of metal brackets, wires, and elastic that help shift teeth into a straighter position.

While there is no age limit to orthodontics, we recommend that your child receive braces early to prevent future dental problems. Crooked teeth can increase the risk of TMJ disorders, tooth decay, gum disease, and other issues. Straightening teeth early on can set your child up for a future of healthy smiles.

Adolescent Dentistry FAQs

Learn more about dental treatments that are a part of adolescent dentistry in our Mt. Airy, MD office: 

Can teens get dental sealants?

We recommend dental sealants for patients who are between eleven and thirteen. Patients can receive protective dental sealants to protect against cavities once their second molars emerge. 

How often should teens go to the dentist?

Teenagers should visit the dentist every six months. Routine dental visits keep their teeth clean and allow us to keep track of developments in their oral health. 

Can tobacco cause gum disease?

Tobacco use can contribute to gum disease. The nicotine in tobacco causes dry mouth and restricts the blood vessels, which slows healing. This means harmful bacteria can easily collect on the gums and hide between teeth in tobacco users.

Smoking, vaping, or using other tobacco products can lead to gum disease if tobacco users do not care for their smiles. Patients who quit using tobacco and visit the dentist can help heal their gums.

Why does tobacco cause dry mouth?

The nicotine in tobacco contributes to dry mouth by decreasing saliva production. Saliva helps wash away food debris and bacteria. In turn, dry mouth can increase the risk of developing bacterial infections like gum disease. Patients who smoke, vape, or use tobacco products need to be aware of dry mouth, gum disease, and other dental problems they can experience because of nicotine. 

Is gum damage from smoking reversible?

Early signs of gum disease, like gum inflammation, are reversible with a good oral hygiene routine. However, quitting tobacco products is the best way to help reverse the damage from gum disease. Smoking cigarettes, vaping, and using tobacco will continue to damage the gums if patients do not quit. 

How long does it take for a tongue piercing to damage teeth?

It can take several days for a tongue piercing to damage teeth. The metal of the tongue-piercing can accidentally crack, break, or otherwise damage your teeth when you eat or speak. Tongue piercings can be dangerous for teens as their teeth continue to develop.

Contact Our Dental Office

Receive dental treatment for teens, also known as adolescent dentistry in Mt. Airy, MD. Call Mt. Airy Children’s Dental Associates for dental treatment today at (301) 781-5337. You can also schedule a dental appointment with us online. Let us know if your child has any current dental problems that require treatment. We will help them restore their full oral health.