Kids typically start to assert their independence from an early age; however, things often ramp up when your child reaches their teenage years. At this stage, teens may not want their parents' help or input and are likely to start to want to manage their own lives for themselves. For example, in some cases, you may find that your teenager doesn't want you to go to dental check-ups with them, asking if they can go alone. Is it a good idea to let your teen go to check-ups without you?
How Old Is Your Teen?
While you may not think that your child can manage dental check-ups alone in their early teen years, you may not be so sure once your child gets older. Once kids reach their mid-teens, many can manage everyday tasks without you, and your child may well argue that they don't need parental input for a dental check-up.
While you may still want to work with your child through their dental appointments, responsibilities do shift towards kids as they go through their teenage years. While kids get full legal responsibilities for themselves when they reach 18, they actually start to get some responsibility for their own medical treatments from the age of 14. By the time your child is 16, they can technically give consent for medical and dental treatments themselves. If you have a mature child who is confident around their dentist, then you may want to start easing them into managing their own check-ups.
Tip: If you aren't happy about letting your teen go to a check-up on their own, try a compromise. Go with them to the appointment, but allow them to see the dentist alone while you wait in the waiting room. This way, you'll be on hand if your child needs help deciding about treatment or if the dentist wants to talk to an adult about your child's teeth.
Why Does Your Child Want to Go Alone?
While some kids want to go to their own check-ups because they want to be more independent, others may see this as a way of not letting you know about their oral health habits. If your teen is a bit lax at cleaning their teeth, they may try to avoid you nagging them about dental care by cutting you out of the dentist loop. They can then come home and say that everything is fine even if it isn't.
Tip: If you think that your teen isn't on top of their oral health, it's worth continuing to go to the dentist with them. While they may not be happy to have you hear them get a lecture from the dentist about the way they take care of their teeth, it's good for you to know that they aren't doing the right thing.
If you aren't sure whether your child is able to manage dental appointments on their own, you can ask your dentist for advice. Some dentists prefer to have an adult on hand for teen appointments; others may be happy to see your teen on their own.
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