Adolescent Oral Health Care
This best practice presents general recommendations for managing the distinct oral health care needs of adolescents. Accurate medical, dental, and social histories are necessary for safe and effective care. Health history forms should allow youth to provide information on topics such as gender, diet, piercings, and risk-taking behaviors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, and drug use; sexual activity). Transgender and gender diverse youth may be at increased risk for oral, physical, and psychosocial conditions (e.g., perimyolysis due to bulimia). The age and stage of adolescence (early, middle, late) will impact diagnostic, preventive, and restorative treatment decisions. Each adolescent oral health topic (caries, fluoride use, oral hygiene, diet management, sealants, professional preventive treatment, restorative dentistry, periodontal disease, malocclusions, third molars, temporomandibular joint disorders, congenitally missing teeth, ectopic eruption, traumatic injuries, and esthetic concerns) has specific recommendations. Assent is an important aspect of adolescent oral health care that can foster the patient’s emerging independence. Transition to adult dental care should be discussed as the patient approaches the age of majority and implemented at a time agreed upon by the patient, parent, and practitioner. Due to the complexity of their unique needs and psychosocial influences, creating and maintaining trust and confidentiality are important when providing oral health care for adolescents.
This document was developed through a collaborative effort of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Councils on Clinical Affairs and Scientific Affairs to offer updated information and recommendations regarding the management of oral health care for adolescents.
KEYWORDS: ADOLESCENT, ORAL HEALTH, ORAL SUBSTANCE ABUSE, RISK HEALTH BEHAVIOR, TONGUE PIERCING, TRANSITION TO ADULT CARE