Santa Cruz Smiles

Common Dental Issues in Teens and How the Best Dentists in Santa Cruz Can Help

dental issues

It is common for teenagers to have dental issues in the US. One out of seven adolescents has at least one decayed tooth. So, what can be done about it?

It is important to address teen dental health problems to maintain their oral health throughout their lives. The longer dental problems are left, the worse they can get.

Teen dental health can be tricky. Some teens do not connect with their healthcare providers, so it is important to find a dentist for teens. It will help them get the support they need to address their dental health and take action.

A good place to start is to know what common dental problems are for teens. Read on to learn the most common dental issues to know.  

Crowded and Misaligned Teeth

There are several reasons why teeth grow unaligned. The medical term for this is malocclusion.

It can be because the individual has a small jaw, so teeth are overcrowded and compete for space. There can also be too much space in the mouth, which can cause gaps. 

Seven out of ten Americans are self-conscious about their smile. It can be more difficult for teens as they are going through developmental changes and are establishing their sense of self. It can make misaligned or crowded teeth difficult to deal with.

Crowded and misaligned teeth are usually easy to diagnose. However, it is not just for aesthetic purposes that you should address this dental health problem. Often the jaw can be misaligned too, which can cause discomfort.

How Santa Cruz Smiles Can Help

Santa Cruz Smiles has several orthodontic treatments to help with this teen dental health issue. There are several types of braces you can get, including:

  • Invisalign 
  • Metal brackets
  • Night retainers

What treatment a teen needs depends on their preferences and the extent of their issue. Invisalign is a popular option as it is less noticeable than metal brackets. Some teens like metal braces because they can pick different colored bands, and these braces are effective even with tough cases.

Wisdom Teeth Dental Issues

Wisdom teeth can break through gums, cause discomfort, alignment issues, or impact other teeth. There are several reasons for this, such as there being no space. It is one of the most common dental problems, with over ten million wisdom teeth removed each year. 

Wisdom teeth are also known as the third molars and are the last teeth to develop. They often come through between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, although it can happen later. This is why wisdom teeth issues are so common for teenagers.

How Santa Cruz Smiles Can Help

A dentist for teens, such as Santa Cruz Smiles, can resolve wisdom teeth issues before they cause more oral damage. It is best to take action when the wisdom teeth first come through, because they can cause gum disease, tooth decay, sinus infections, and other dental problems. 

Usually, x-rays are taken of the mouth to assess the problem and whether the dentist needs to remove the tooth. Then the teen can schedule an extraction procedure with the dentist to remove the tooth. 


Tooth decay is one of the common dental problems parents dread. Sometimes good oral hygiene and limiting sugary food can prevent cavities. However, bacteria and other factors, such as eating disorders or heartburn, can also cause this dental health issue. 

It’s hard to monitor a teenager’s diet at times, and tooth decay can be painless initially. Signs of tooth decay can include:

  • Tooth sensitivity when eating and drinking
  • Black or brown spots on teeth
  • Continuous or infrequent tooth pain 
  • Visible holes in teeth

Cavities are permanently damaged areas of the tooth, which cause holes and openings. If a teen does not get treatment, they could experience severe pain, infections, and even tooth loss as they age. Regular checkups with a dentist for teens are the best way to prevent cavities in the first place.

How Santa Cruz Smiles Can Help

A dentist will be able to identify tooth decay early, such as when plague forms. They can prevent the issue from worsening. Often the first treatment is to clean the teeth and advise on oral hygiene. 

Other early treatment options are fluoride treatment and fillings. If a dentist can apply fluoride early enough, it can reverse cavities. Usually, fluoride treatment involves a dentist applying the gel, varnish, or other liquid to the impacted tooth. 

If tooth decay is at a later stage, Santa Cruz Smiles may need to carry out root canal treatment, tooth extraction, or crowns. It depends on the individual case and the severity of the tooth decay. 

Gum Disease

Teenagers can be more susceptible to gum disease during puberty, especially teenage girls, because of their hormone changes and increased blood flow to gums. Signs of gum disease often include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Pus between teeth
  • Tender gums 
  • Loose teeth

Regular dental checkups can prevent gum dental issues, such as gum disease. Gum disease dental problems fall under two categories: periodontitis and gingivitis. Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease, whereas periodontitis is more advanced.

How Santa Cruz Smiles Can Help

Treatment for gum disease depends on whether the teenager has periodontitis or gingivitis. Usually, gingivitis treatment involves scaling, deep cleaning, including root planing, and antibiotic treatment. 

However, more advanced gum disease may require surgery. Common surgical treatments involve bone grafting, flap surgery, and soft tissue grafts. 

Manage Teen Dental Health Issues

Treatment is better than cure, so find a dentist for teens even if they do not have one of the common dental problems on this list. Teenagers are more susceptible to certain dental issues for various reasons, including hormonal changes, mental health conditions, drug use, and diet.

You want to find a dentist who specializes in teen dental health and can help treat any dental problems that come up. Look no further than Santa Cruz Smiles; we offer quality dental and orthodontic treatment for all ages. Contact us today to get started. 

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