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Braces for Teens

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Each patient is different; teens typically get braces after they have lost all of their baby teeth and their 12-year molars are all at least partially erupted. We walk your child through every step, and help them to understand that braces will improve their smile and give them a healthier bite. We want them loving their smile!

Many teens are ambivalent about getting braces.  On one hand, they like the idea of perfect teeth, but on the other hand, they are nervous about whether the braces will cause pain and discomfort or be easily seen.  The good news is that the placement of orthodontic braces is not at all painful, there are many aesthetic options, and the end result will be a beautiful straight smile.

Although patients of any age can benefit from orthodontic braces, they tend to work much quicker on pre-teens and teenagers since they are still experiencing jaw growth.  The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should first see an orthodontist around the age of seven years-old.  An orthodontic examination may be beneficial before age seven if facial or oral irregularities are noted.

What Causes misalignment of teeth?

Poorly aligned teeth often cause problems speaking, biting and chewing.  Most irregularities are genetic or occur as a result of developmental issues.  Conversely, some irregularities are acquired or greatly exacerbated by certain habits and behaviors such as:

  • Mouth breathing
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Prolonged pacifier use
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition

What’s involved when a teen gets braces?

The orthodontist initially conducts a visual examination of the teen's teeth.  This will be accompanied by panoramic X-rays, study models (bite impressions), and computer generated images of the head and neck.  These preliminary assessments are sometimes known as the “planning phase” because they aid the orthodontist in making a diagnosis and planning the most effective treatment.

In many cases, the orthodontist will recommend “fixed” orthodontic braces for a teen.  Fixed braces cannot be lost, forgotten or removed at will, which means that treatment is completed more quickly.  Removable appliances may also be utilized, which are less intrusive and are generally used to treat various types of defects.

Here is a brief overview of some of the main types of orthodontic appliances used on teen:

  • Fixed Braces – Braces are comprised of brackets that are affixed to each individual tooth and an archwire that connects the brackets.  The brackets are usually made of metal, ceramic, or a clear synthetic material which is less noticeable to the naked eye.  After braces have been applied, the teenwill have regular appointments to have the braces adjusted by the orthodontist.  Orthodontic elastic bands are often added to the braces to aid in the movement of specific teeth.
  • Invisible Aligners - Invisalign® offers an almost invisible aligning system that straightens teeth fast and contains no metal. In addition to the reduced visual impact, Invisalign® aligning trays can be temporarily removed for important occasions – meaning that treatment duration is patient-controlled.  A great number of people report complete satisfaction with both the Invisalign® treatment and the stunning results.
  • Retainers – Retainers are typically utilized in the third phase (retention phase).  When the original malocclusion has been treated with braces, it is essential that the teeth do not regress back to the original misalignment.  Wearing a retainer ensures that teeth maintain their proper alignment and gives the jawbone around the teeth a chance to stabilize. 

If you have questions about braces for teens, please contact our office.