Aug 142013

How do you know when it is time to have your teen’s wisdom teeth removed? We are going through this right now, so I can shed some light on the signs to look for and when it might be okay to wait.

You know it is time to make an appointment with a dentist/oral surgeon when:

  1. Your teen’s wisdom teeth, or the areas surrounding those teeth, are hurting, bleeding or inflamed.
  2. Your teen’s teeth have moved on either the top or bottom. This is especially important if your teen had straight teeth naturally or braces to straighten them.
  3. Your teen is having pain in their ear or area surrounding the back of the jaw in conjunction with those teeth coming in.

Normally the wisdom teeth come in between the ages of 16 – 25, depending on who you ask. So, you can expect to see some sort of action happening with those late-blooming molars around that time.

Image by, stock.xchng, Cieleke,

Image by, stock.xchng, Cieleke,

We saw my daughter’s dentist last week and the oral surgeon today. The decision has been made to remove all four wisdom teeth now.  Since all four teeth are impacted, meaning that they have not broken the surface yet, she will need anesthesia so that she sleeps through the procedure which will include extraction and suturing.

My daughter is 16, which is on the young age to have hers removed. However, she is having pain and inflammation with one of them. Her bottom teeth, which were straightened with braces, are already beginning to move. Finally, the X-rays showed the bottom teeth coming in at a direct angle towards her other molars. For these reasons, we have decided it is time and best to take all four at once to avoid multiple procedures.

Both and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have some great information on this topic as well.

Just because the wisdom teeth may be coming in, does not necessarily mean that they need to be removed or removed now. Look for the signs above and if there is any question, you should speak to your teen’s dentist.

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May 182013

We all have some sort of routine in our lives.  We may have routines that take us through the morning, the whole day or even longer.  We all get set in those particular routines and it can be hard to veer off that path.  However, I learned from my daughter that it’s okay to steer a different direction once in a while.  It can actually be a good, healthy, fun thing to do.

I have a pretty set routine during the week.  I work 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday.  After work I come home, relax for just a bit by doing a little writing.  I then make dinner, watch some TV, and then head off to bed by 10pm so I can rise early and do it all again.  Quite a routine, isn’t it?  Sound familiar?

Alarm Clock Photo By Sandy Stachowiak

Alarm Clock Photo By Sandy Stachowiak

My teenage daughter likes to keep busy and do things.  She likes it best when we are constantly moving rather than sitting around.  I tell her it is because she has a lot more energy than me and because she does not know what it is like to work 40+ hours per week.  I do not like to go out anywhere after I get home from work.  But lately she has been trying more and more to get me out of this routine.

Although I do enjoy relaxing and trying to recoup after a day’s work; I have to admit I am now veering off my routine a bit to do things with my daughter.  Going out to dinner during the work week, doing some shopping after work, or just being out after dark on a Tuesday are all breaks from the routine.  And you know what?  It’s not so tough, it’s not so bad – it’s actually nice and it’s actually relaxing too!

She tries the same thing with me on the weekends and I cannot blame her for trying.  Spending weekends doing chores or yard work is not exactly fun.  So, I now try to use one day to work around the house or yard and the other day to get out and do something fun.  I feel it is a good compromise and it works for us.

So, the moral of my story is that my daughter has taught me it is okay to break from the routine.  It’s actually better than okay – it’s fun!

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Mar 182013

I try hard, although it is difficult, to remember that times have changed.  Things that were uncommon when I was a teenager are common for today’s teen.  Piercings is a perfect example of this.  I am not sure if it was the small town I lived in or the time I was a teen, but when I was that age it was unusual to see anyone with anything other than ear piercings on the average teen.  If I did see it, it was in a movie and the teens were usually in their later teens.

Photo by:, stock.xchng, cinezi,

Photo by:, stock.xchng, cinezi,

Nowadays, piercings seem to be much more common:  ear piercings that go all the way around the edge of the ear, face piercings on the nose, lip, and eyebrow, and then of course the body piercings on the navel and other not-to-be-named spots.  This all seems to be the norm now.

I allowed my daughter to have her ears pierced (one hole in each lobe) at the age of ten.  Now that she is close to 16 she is bringing up having her nose and navel pierced along with more holes in her ears.  As much as I am against certain piercings at her age, I also have to remind myself that times have changed.

So, what is the answer to “Mom, can I have my ______ pierced?”  Does it depend on the age?  Does it depend on the part of the body?  Or, is there simply an all-encompassing rule in the home?  I am quite sure that every parent has a different view.

There is a lot to consider health-wise when it comes to piercings as well.  Infection, allergic reactions, and damage to nerves are just a few items to keep in mind.  The Center for Young Women’s Health has some great information on this topic.

According to Statistic Brain as of May 2012, 14% of Americans have a body piercing other than their ear lobe and 72% of the pierced population is women.  Those numbers are not staggering, but interesting.  I actually thought that the 14% would be much higher.  So, I guess the argument of “but Mom, everyone is doing it” will not work!  Another statistic they note is that 31% of piercings had complications.  I actually thought that this number would be lower.

I personally have had my ears pierced since the age of four.  I got one other hole pierced when I was 12 and then a third and one on the other side in my early 20’s – all on the lobes.  At this point, I do not have a problem with my daughter getting more holes pierced in her ears.  However, I cannot bring myself to allow piercings anywhere else on her body.  Call me old-fashioned, but this is my ruling and she knows it.

So again, what do you consider as a parent when/if this question comes up?  Do you think about the health risks?  Again, does age make a difference in your decision?   Does the location of the piercing or what others might think when they see your teen play into it?

We would love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

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Mar 112013

When your children talk about aches or pains, do you really listen and take it seriously?  You should.

As parents we know that there are times when our children exaggerate.  It mostly happens when they are little it seems.  They would talk about that gigantic spider in their room or that enormous animal in the yard – both of which were “this big!”  But, when our children grow into teens, do we carry over that habit of thinking they might be exaggerating?  I think it is natural, if we do., stock.xchng, 13dede,

Photo by:, stock.xchng, 13dede,

I learned that listening to my daughter really is important.  A few years ago at the age of 13, she told me that she always leaned a certain way when she was sitting at her desk and that she thought it was caused from Scoliosis.  She actually talked about this more than once.  I did not think she even knew what Scoliosis was; much less believe that she had it.  Well, guess what?  She was right!

I took my daughter in for her school physical and the doctor confirmed her suspicions with an exam and X-ray.  (I wrote a complete article on this for Yahoo Voices! if you are interested in our Scoliosis experience specifically.)  What I want to touch on here; however, is that listening to our kids is important.  Taking their concerns into consideration is important.  Paying attention to what aches they have is important.  It is all important.

Sure, what they are feeling may turn out to be nothing.  But at the same time what they are feeling could turn out to be something.  Listen to your kids.


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Jan 212013

We were very happy to learn last week that my daughter is getting her braces off next week!

She listened to her orthodontist and I am very proud of her for that.  She wore the expander and did all that she was supposed to do with the rubber bands.  She even dealt with and wore the crazy, criss-cross rubber bands pictured here.

Abby's criss-cross rubber bands

Abby’s criss-cross rubber bands

Now, because she did everything that she was asked to do, she is getting the braces off after only wearing them 1 1/2 years.  I know that every situation is different, but I do believe that not doing as the orthodontist asks, especially when it comes to rubber bands, can lengthen the time kids have to wear their braces.

The next step is getting retainers and the top one is removable.  But, I do believe that my daughter will continue to do as asked when it comes to straightening those pearly whites!

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