By the early teen years, most kids have developed almost all of their permanent teeth (except, in most cases, the wisdom teeth), and preventative dental hygiene (and occasionally orthodontics) will become the main feature in their dental care over the following years.
Oral Hygiene & Prevention
As your teen grows up and becomes more mature, independent, responsible, and self-sufficient, continue to instill the importance of oral hygiene in them as much as you can.
Ideally, if your teen has developed healthy oral hygiene habits throughout childhood, these will continue and be improved upon now; the main difference being that he or she will be fully in charge of his or her oral health.
At this age you're still in a position to ensure that your child visits the dentist every 6 months, and that he or she has all the equipment necessary for good at-home oral hygiene, from toothbrushes and floss, to mouthwash. But the actual work of cleaning and caring for his or her teeth is now up to your teen!
Diet can become more of an issue during the teen years. Since teenagers are more independent, but not always more sensible, than they were when they were younger, and it’s not as easy for parents to monitor all of their food and drink choices.
You may find that the best you can do at this stage is to make lots of wholesome food available at home, and to be a good role model by practicing good oral hygiene habits and eating a nutritious, varied diet yourself.
If your child has developed teeth or jaw misalignment issues (malocclusion), now is the time that orthodontic treatment will likely begin.
Some younger children undergo Stage One (Early Interceptive) Orthodontic Treatment, but the teen years are typically when braces treatment takes place. This is because at this stage, the adult teeth have just about fully developed, but the mouth as a whole is still somewhat malleable and therefore more responsive to treatment that it will be when your child is older.
Wisdom teeth usually make their appearance in the late teens or early 20s.
Wisdom teeth need to be removed in most people, because they serve no functional purpose and can cause crowding and other misalignment issues. They can also get stuck below the gum surface because there just isn't enough room for them to emerge, or because they’re growing in in the wrong direction.
Once the wisdom teeth have erupted, your child will finally be done growing his or her teeth!
The teen years can be a bittersweet time for many parents, as they see their child making those final transitions from childhood to adulthood. But don't kid yourself; you still have influence over your child's choices, and can continue to guide them down the path to good oral health habits!