I’m 16 and have never been to a dentist. Lately, several teeth have been hurting and it’s hard for me to drink anything cold. When I look in the mirror, I feel certain there are some cavities, especially toward the back. I asked my parents to take me to the dentist and I think I need a sedation dentist, because I’m pretty sure they’re going to need to do a lot. My best friend goes to the dentist every year, she said when she switched to a sedation dentist her visits were so much easier. My parents said I’m just being melodramatic. They’ve never needed a dentist and if I took care of my teeth neither would I. They also said that even if they were to waste money on a dentist, they wouldn’t spend extra so I could get high. Is there any information you can point me to that could change their mind?
Stephanie – Alabama
It sounds like your parents have been very fortunate when it comes to having healthy teeth. However, you can do everything right and still get cavities. If you want to, you can print this out of send them the link to the url. Based on what you’ve described you’ve got some cavities and they may be extensive given your sensitivity to cold. You’ll likely need a root canal treatment, a crown, or (worst case scenario) an extraction. For a couple of those treatments, sedation is a very useful, and in some cases, necessary.
Preventative dental care is an essential part of your overall medical health. Dental problems are linked to diabetes, heart disease, and a myriad of other issues. As secondary effects of poor dental health, many children have low self-esteem and trouble eating or sleeping. It’s important to regularly see a dentist to catch problems before they blow up to where you get gum disease or need to replace teeth.
If it turns out any of your teeth need to be extracted, you’ll need to be advised on tooth replacement options. Given your youth, I’d do a temporary replacement, then once your jawbone is fully developed the best procedure would be a dental implant. It’s the closest to having your natural teeth back.
It’s possible your parents are acting like they don’t care because they’re worried about finances. It’s easy to lash out or make excuses when we’re scared. Most dentists have some type of payment plan options, either in-house or through Care Credit.
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