By far the most challenging times most parents will ever encounter with their child will be the adolescent years. Well, dentistry is no different! I can recall a patient I had that needed a white filling on his upper front tooth, and I simply couldn’t restore the tooth because he refused to brush. This battle continued for literally six months as he would come in every month in an attempt to repair his tooth. Great kid, but just no effort.
Will My Child Need Braces?
This question is by far the most common I would receive regarding teenagers. Honestly, about 90% of the population has a type of malocclusion (irregular bite), and “needs” braces. However, I come from a conservative school of thought of considering what is necessary, and typically would only recommend braces if your child has a crossbite, underbite, severe overbite, or moderate to severe crowding.
A Word of Caution Regarding Braces
Braces are considered a necessary evil. Although an orthodontist can align and straighten your child’s teeth into a beautiful smile, the treatment comes with a few trade-offs. The biggest side effect of braces is an increased risk of being susceptible to cavities. Imagine a child who already has poor oral hygiene habits, and now we propose putting braces on their teeth. This recipe could lead to a disaster of monumental proportions!
I had a sweet 16-year-old patient that was mentally challenged. She had a history of extremely poor oral hygiene and was terrified of the dentist. The parents went against my recommendation and decided to have braces put on her teeth. Just six short months later, I had to perform a full mouth dental rehabilitation on the girl in a hospital setting, under general anesthesia. The surgery took me 2 and 1/2 hours and was one of the most challenging and heartbreaking cases I have ever seen.
Please trust your dentist’s professional opinion when they have a good reason for not wanting to do something. Common sense will tell you that the doctor is being honest; otherwise, why would they recommend not doing something if they have a chance to make major bucks off of you?
I hope you learned something about your teen’s oral health, and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you should have any questions. Please leave your comments below. Thanks for stopping by!