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Teenagers

As children enter their teenage years and become more independent in the decisions they make, positive dental health including brushing and flossing needs to be encouraged. Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry is likely to become more of a consideration for teens, including teeth whitening, restorations and orthodontic treatment. The table below outlines some of the restorative choices that may be considered:

Treatment

Goals

Pros & Cons

Preventive resins (Fissue sealants)

Tiny cavities

Look natural, great preventive measure, smaller investment

Tooth-coloured fillings

Cavities in front and back teeth, cavities in front teeth

Look natural, work best in low-stress areas

Tooth-coloured crowns

Severe decay, tooth with fracture, developmental defect or root canal treatment

Look natural, performance may be less durable more costly than stainless steel crowns

CEREC

Replicate existing tooth look and feel

A very close match to an original tooth. Less expensive than crowns.

 

Below is a useful guide which outlines some of the cosmetic choices that may be considered and their effects:

Treatment

Goals

Pros & Cons

Whitening toothpastes

Brighten teeth

Remove surface stains but does not lighten the colour of the teeth

Over-the-counter whitening kits
(strips, gels in preformed trays)

Lighten teeth

Patient convenience, low cost; limited control (not for single tooth) and efficiency, tissue irritation from poorly-fitting tray. Limited whitening from this method

Custom-made bleaching trays

Lighten teeth

Greater efficiency than over-the-counter kits, intimate fit; requires multiple applications

In-office bleaching

Whitens discoloured teeth

Lightens and brightens the colour of a tooth or teeth, very comfortable, professional control with protection of the gums during treatment, more stable results; relatively more costly than at-home methods.

Microabrasion

Brighten discoloured areas on individual teeth

Improves spots and stains on teeth, very comfortable; less predictable results

Bonding and veneers

Restore discoloured teeth

Restore a tooth that is chipped or broken

Mask developmental defects such as pitted or small teeth

Greatly improves the look of the teeth, last for several years, comfortable

Porcelain Crowns

Restore discoloured teeth

Restore a tooth that is chipped or broken

Restore a tooth with extensive decay

Mask developmental defects such as pitted or small teeth

Greatly improves the look of the teeth, very durable, treatment more extensive

Orthodontic Treatment

Correct crooked or crowded teeth

Benefits go far beyond cosmetics to correct bite problems and prevent future dental problems, most extensive investment of time and finances

 

General Dental Tips for Teens

By the end of the teen years, teens probably will get the last of their permanent teeth, called wisdom teeth or third molars. Although some wisdom teeth  come into the mouth normally, others need to be removed because of their position or lack of space. A dentist will make sure any treatment needed for a teen’s wisdom teeth takes place at the right time.

Brush twice a day – after breakfast and before bed – with fluoride toothpaste. Floss once a day to prevent gum disease and tooth decay on the sides of the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach.

Wear a mouthguard during any sport or activity with a risk of falls, collisions or contact with hard surfaces or equipment. This includes sports such as AFL football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, wrestling and gymnastics, as well as leisure activities such as skateboarding, skating and cycling.

Visit your dentist twice a year. Teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments and sealants are still important for you to prevent tooth decay, gum disease,  bad breath and to maintain a healthy, visually appealing smile.

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