You have begun to make decisions for your own body and life. Sometimes, that doesn’t please your parents, but other times, it makes them proud. If you are old enough to choose, you are also old enough to know the information to make the choice. Here’s what you need to know:
If you knock out a tooth playing sports, it might go back in, but it might not. You could also crack or chip a tooth. While we might be able to reattach chipped pieces, you’ll need good luck to find them in the middle of a field or ice rink. Also, if you have braces, mouth guards can keep the metal brackets from cutting your lip or cheeks open.
You could buy one over the counter at a grocery or drug store, or you could have your dentist make one for your mouth. A custom fitted guard will provide better protection and superior comfort – it could even help you avoid concussions! Either way, you’ll need to keep it clean and rinse it with water.
Tongue and Lip Piercings
They look tough. And “awesome.” And “cool.” You want one, but your mom says no, which makes you want it more. But let’s think about it. Regardless of whether you get your tongue or lip pierced, every time you talk, or eat, it’s going to hit your teeth.
Over time, and not long at that, the piercing will crack the enamel or begin to chip the teeth. Chipped teeth let decay and bacteria into the pulp, causing cavities. Not only that, but the metal rubs the gums when your mouth is resting. Receding gums show the roots of your teeth – roots that don’t have a protective coating of enamel. Receding gums also give you the appearance of “long”, aged teeth.
So it’s possible, even probable, that you will end up with rotted teeth down through the roots and need to have them pulled. Not the back teeth that people can’t see, but the front teeth. The ones you smile with. The ones that everyone sees when you talk.
Aside from these issues, oral piercings are REALLY hard to keep clean, putting you at risk for pretty bad breath and regular infections in your mouth. Not ideal for eating, playing an instrument, or kissing. Reconsider the mouth jewelry and keep your beautiful smile!
You might be grinding your teeth at night and not even know it. Grinding your teeth is also called bruxism. It’s pretty common and not very worrisome. If you notice your teeth feeling worn, or a grinding sound wakes you up at night, you might need a mouthguard to wear while you sleep!
Badly Decayed Teeth
Crown that tooth! You’ve had fillings, but now the dentist tells you that you need to have a root canal and crown.
There’s no need to worry. This is a normal procedure, and with modern dental techniques, no one will even know it. We’ll give you an anesthetic, and if you need it, a sedative that will make you feel very relaxed.
First we will fix the tooth, and take an impression. It takes about two weeks to make the crown out of porcelain, or porcelain bonded to metal. There are also all metal crowns to use when your tooth hasn’t fully developed. If a custom crown is made, you’ll come back so we can attach it to your tooth. It protects the remaining damaged tooth from decay and gives you a stable bite surface.
Most emergencies will take you to an ER, but there are some things you need to see the dentist for: Knocking a tooth out, chipping or cracking a tooth, and a severe toothache. If your parents aren’t near when you knock out, chip, or crack a tooth, there are some immediate steps you can take to preserve your injured tooth:
- When a tooth comes all the way out, rinse it in warm water, but don’t scrub it. Rinse your mouth, and put the tooth back in the socket as soon as you can. Get to a dentist ASAP.
- If you can’t get the tooth back in the socket, or if it is cracked or damaged somehow, put it in a clean bowl with milk or saliva (spit) and bring it to the dentist with you. If you don’t have a bowl, you can hold it in between your cheek and gum to keep it clean and viable.
- Never put aspirin on your gums. It won’t help at all and likely will burn your gums.
- Use a cold pack if you have swelling or pain in your mouth. Heat can make swelling worse.
Tobacco & Oral Cancer
Everyone knows by now that smoking is so harmful for you and causes cancer. In fact the statistics say that teens are smoking less today than they were even 10 years ago. But instead of smoking cigarettes, it seems they are using smokeless tobacco like chew, or snuff. Some have even turned to e-cigarettes. But no tobacco product is safe, including e-cigarettes.
The compounds that are in cigarettes are harmful when inhaled, including those in smokeless tobacco. The compounds in smokeless tobacco may not be as harmful to your lungs, but they are harmful to your teeth, mouth and throat. With e-cigarettes, there is not only a risk of cancer, but the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, slower healing in your mouth, really bad breath, and discolored teeth and tongue.
That can of dip is just as bad, and much more addictive than cigarettes: one can offer as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes. Think again before you accept the offer to share tobacco with a friend. If you are using it already, watch for these signs of cancer…
- A painful throat that doesn’t heal
- Leathery spots under your tongue or on your lips, which may be white or red
- Pain, sensitivity, or numbness of the lips, tongue, or cheeks
- A difference in how your teeth fit together
- Trouble using your jaw or tongue to chew, swallow, or speak,
If you want help to stop using nicotine, and especially if you have any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your parents, and call our office for an appointment. We want you to have a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile!