ADOLESCENT YEARS 12-18
We see a great frequency of dental caries in teenagers due to the availability of soft drinks and sports drinks in school. Sports drinks are good to use following athletics to replenish fluids, but regular and indiscriminate use bathes the teeth in sugar and acid and leads to decay. We recommend a switch to flavored waters or plain water to give the teeth a break from the sugar-producing acid and provide a chance for them to re-mineralize and heal (see the section on What is Dental Caries for more information on re-mineralization.)
SEALING OUT DECAY
Sealants can be used to protect the decay-prone areas of the back teeth, and are possibly the best preventive care measures that we can provide. Studies show that sealants can reduce caries in these teeth by 70%. If a teenager has never had decay, we may not suggest sealing his teeth – particularly if he brushes and flosses well and has a healthy diet. However, if a teenager has had a history of cavities, it may be a reasonable recommendation. Sealing can be an effective preventive measure, but should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Talk with the dentist if your teenager is grinding her teeth. At this age, teeth grinding can lead to jaw joint problems from the stress of overworking the jaw muscles. Often a custom made mouth guard allows the muscles to rest at night, reduces the pain, and protects the teeth and jaw joint.
MOUTH GUARDS FOR SPORTS
We are very supportive of the use of mouth guards in any contact sports, including football, soccer, and hockey. Mouth guards not only protect the teeth, but can reduce concussions and injuries to the jaw joints. A mouth guard must be comfortable and not cumbersome so that your teenager will use it. If you have trouble finding one that fits properly, we can make a custom guard for your teenager.
We encourage the use of sugarless gum to help prevent tooth decay! Sugarless gum can clean the biting surfaces of the molars and stimulate saliva production. This action brings minerals to the surface and helps the teeth heal. Keep in mind that gum with sugar is very bad for the teeth.
Most parents and teenagers are aware that smoking cigarettes is bad for their health, can damage their mouth and lungs, and stain their teeth. It is also important to note that smokeless tobacco is especially dangerous because the nicotine is absorbed directly through the gums. Studies show the incidence of cancer of the mouth increases as a direct result of its use. It is important to understand that tobacco in any form is very detrimental to oral health, and we strongly advise against its use.
Many teenagers are concerned with personal appearance and having healthy white teeth can boost their self esteem. While excellent oral hygiene and regular checkups are the best way to a beautiful smile, some teenagers may want to try whitening their teeth for extra dazzle. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products can be safe and effective, but consult with the dentist prior to using them to be sure. For a faster, safer and more effective result, we can provide cosmetic teeth whitening with custom trays. With this process, a chemical reaction occurs within the tooth to produce fast and stable results. Talk with the dentist if your teenager is interested in this process. Dr. Z recommends holding off on bleaching until late teenage years.
Many teenagers are concerned with bad breath. Our advice for this problem is to adequately brush your teeth and gums, palate and tongue, and floss every day. We have found that Crest Pro-Health™ toothpaste has been shown to be very effective in reducing bacteria and can improve the breath. Colgate Total™ toothpaste is another good option. We do not recommend that children or teenagers use alcohol-based mouth rinses.
It is important to note that if your teenager has allergies, asthma, or sinus infections, he will often have secondary halitosis that can’t be brushed or rinsed away. In these cases we recommend seeing your child’s doctor to address the primary cause.
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When I initially made this appointment for my 2 year old daughter I thought to myself “this isn’t going to really happen”. I didn’t think she would allow a dentist near her teeth. But as soon as we walked in she was hooked. She absolutely loved the office, pointing out the iPads on the wall, watching the movie on the flatscreen TV, and jumping in and out of the colorful seats while grabbing books from the bookshelf. I was thinking this was the nicest office I had seen in a long time, if ever, an… Read more
Dr. Z! Thank you for the excellent experience! I can only wish that my childhood experiences could’ve started as well as those of our son. You know you’re in the right place when your child actually asks when he is going to see his dentist again! The warmth and professionalism of Dr. Z and his staff has made what we thought would be a difficult decision an easy one. We’re very thankful to you for all you do. Thanks again!
A to Z was such a wonderful experience. I took my 7 yr old son a couple of months ago and he loved it. Not only the iPads mounted on the wall, or the great incentives that he got for being good, but he loved Dr. Z and the staff! He is honestly excited for his 6 month check up and can not wait to return. I will definitely continue to recommend them to all my family and freinds!
Dr. Z and his assistant, Lucy, were amazing with my 2.5 year old son. They introduced each of the instruments they were going to use. Dr. Z made Matty feel comfortable right away by giving him high fives, fist bumps, and shooting his “water gun” instrument. They made sure to incentive him with prizes and stickers. There was also a TV he could watch while laying down but he was so engaged with Dr. Z he didn’t even notice it. Also gave us great tips on oral hygiene, brushing and flossing technique… Read more
Great experience! Dr. Z and staff are 100% child focused from the moment you walk in the door. Beautiful office!
Highly recommend. Great experience for the kids. Took my 5, 2.5 and 1.5 year old boys to AtoZ last summer. It was my first time taking them all together, and my 1.5 yo’s first time at the dentist. Thankfully it was a breeze. From the moment you walk in, the staff helps with the kids. The kids themselves went straight to the nicely mounted ipads on the wall. It was actually a mini break for me as I got to enjoy some coffee peacefully. Dr. Z came and developed immediate rapport with my kids in t… Read more
We love Dr. Z. Our 10 year old son has autism with communication issues and hates going to the dentist. It’s always a production. Dr. Z is his 4th dentist and we have new hope for his teeth! With Dr. Z, he feels comfortable, engaged and actually complies with what Dr. Z needs him to do. Recently, I managed to get our 5 year old there. Last time we took the 5 year old to a dentist she clammed up and would NOT open her mouth. I was dreading this appointment with her because she is so stubborn, but… Read more
Dr. Z and his staff are excellent! Professional but acutely aware of a child’s point of view and cater to their emotional well-being as well as dental health. Our son had a traumatic fall and had to have some teeth pulled, and Dr. Z made the whole process as pain and stress-free as possible.He and his staff even followed up with us on our cell phones over the weekend to see how he was doing. If you have kids who need to go to the dentist, don’t go anywhere else!!
Dr.Z put a great deal of care into repairing my daughters two front teeth after a motoscooter accident. My daughter had a beautiful smile and now it’s even more beautiful. Dr. Z was the second cosmetic dentist we went to. The first dentist’s work kept falling apart.
We went this afternoon and it was the girls first visit to the dentist. Neither of them shed a single tear or even seemed uncomfortable (they’re 3.5 and 2). He really goes out of his way to make them feel safe and at ease. It’s a new office and has tablets with all sorts of games attached to the wall in the waiting room for the kids to play with as well as movies playing and even movies on the ceiling over the exam chairs! He also gives out little prizes after their cleaning and gave us coupons … Read more