I just turned 17 and I know it sounds hard to believe, but I have NEVER been to the dentist. I guess my parents didn’t think it was a priority. In the last several years, I’ve noticed changes in my teeth – several have started hurting every so often and they seem to be very sensitive to cold. I’m not sure what a cavity looks like, but I have brown areas on several of my teeth. I’ve started getting concerned about my wisdom teeth as well because I have pain in my jaw back there and I swear I can see a tooth showing through my gums. My mom seems to just ignore me when I tell her about it. A friend of mine recently had her wisdom teeth out and she went to a sedation dentist. I think I need to see a sedation dentist, but I can’t seem to convince my parents – they just won’t listen. Help! — Brandi
So sorry that your parents are not listening or acknowledging your concerns about your dental care. In many cases, when parents don’t make their child’s dental needs a priority, it’s because they grew up in a house that didn’t value preventative dental care or they perceive that they simply can’t afford dental care.
Visiting the dentist on a regular basis is an essential part of being healthy. Dental problems can affect overall health and lead to diabetes, heart disease, and a myriad of other issues. Poor dental health can also affect kids in many other ways – from confidence and self-esteem issues to problems eating and sleeping. This can lead to behavioral issues and even affect performance in school.
From what you describe, it sounds like you may have several cavities – and they are likely quite large if you are having the sensitivity issues. They need to be treated right away, in hopes that you can be saved from root canals, crowns, or even having teeth pulled. Wisdom teeth are a concern at your age, too, so they should be addressed as well.
There are resources available if income is a barrier. There are lots of dental plans that can help make care more affordable too, and some offices will do CareCredit or payment plans. Your school might have information that can help you as well – ask a guidance counselor can help you navigate the process if your parents don’t support you.
Whether or not you see a general or sedation dentist, make an appointment as soon as possible so a full diagnosis can be made and a course of treatment can be laid out. Good luck!
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Stephen Doan. Find out more about the services he provides by visiting his La Jolla cosmetic dental website.