So, Christmas is over and we’re heading toward a New Year! I’m sure many people traveled for the Christmas Holiday. I was one of them. I made the 1100 mile round trip to Cumming, Georgia to visit with my brother and his family for Christmas. This was my 15th year traveling to see them.
What a surprise to see my niece, Marie, in braces. She is the youngest of my brother’s three children. And, lucky him, all three had to have braces. At my office, Dr. Paul Caputo’s Palm Harbor dental office, we do not do orthodontics; however we do almost everything else.
Crowns, dentures, implants, periodontal therapy, bridges, implant over-dentures, fillings, veneers: the list goes on and on.
Dental care should be addressed at a very early age. A lot of this falls on parents to make sure their kids know the importance of good oral hygiene. Although my niece is twelve, it was rewarding to hear my sister-in-law “get on her” about brushing her teeth.
While I could never fathom going an entire day without brushing or flossing my teeth, my niece wanted a day off because it was Christmas! Sadly for her, her request was denied.
I’ve had many discussions with my co-workers and friends about when a parent should no longer feel responsible for their children’s home care and dental needs. Should it be until the child is eighteen and thus by law considered an adult? Should it be sooner than that? I mean how do you force a rebellious or non-compliant fifteen, sixteen or seventeen year old to brush or floss their teeth? I wish there was some standard answer, but I don’t have it or know it.
I do know that if good habits are established early, it will carry over into adulthood and hopefully lead to less dental complications in the future. Braces are recommended usually between the ages of nine up to sixteen and older when warranted. As we have evolved, it seems our skeletal structure doesn’t always allow for a full compliment of thirty-two teeth. Not only is it more common to have wisdom teeth removed due to lack of room, but often times other teeth are removed in order to create a more symmetrical line of teeth that are not rotated, crowded or crooked. They are usually removed per the recommendation of an orthodontist and his desire to create the perfect bite and smile. It is challenging enough to correctly brush and floss teeth that are crowded, but having rotated or crowded teeth can actually lead to complications later in life.
Food will trap in areas where teeth are crowded, resulting in enamel erosion, tooth decay and periodontal infection and/or other problems. Your bite (occlusion) can also be affected by displaced teeth.
So, to all you parents out there: Do your best to follow up on your kids dental home care and don’t let them fool you when they tell you they’ve brushed and flossed. Because believe it or not, sometimes they “fib” about those things.
Nothing can warm your heart more than to see your niece or nephews smile at you with a beautiful smile. I know because it melts my heart every time.
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A