As dental and orthodontic professionals, we know that deciding what is best for your child’s mouth can be difficult. This is especially true if he or she is a teenager who thinks his or her opinions are always right. Today, more options exist than were available when you were a teen.
All you really want is the best option for your child. So, how do you choose? And does your child even need orthodontic work?
We can help you answer these questions, and we’ll give you the best orthodontic treatment options for teens today.
But first, let’s talk about why the teen years are a great time to correct teeth and misaligned bites.
Why orthodontic care works for youth.
Orthodontics works with the natural biology in your body to move and position your teeth and jaw. Kids under the age of 16 are in a unique stage in life where growth is happening at an accelerated rate. This growth spurt will never happen again. Orthodontists can take advantage of this natural, biological growth to achieve outcomes that could not be achieved later in life, without aggressive surgeries. This is the main reason that your dentist, and orthodontists, are always recommending orthodontic treatment at this age.
There are a few instances when orthodontics needs to be started around age 7-8 to get the maximum benefit out of treatment. This is mostly due to skeletal malformations such as crossbites, open bites, or underbites. This type of treatment is called Phase I orthodontic tx. Click here to read more about it on the website. Your dentist will be able to better direct you to get an orthodontic consult if these problems are evident. If your child does not have any of these issues, braces will most likely be recommended around age 12.
These orthodontic problems most likely will not improve with age. In fact, they often get worse and more difficult to treat. This can lead to poor wearing of the teeth and lead to teeth and jaw problems later in life. When the bones of the face and jaw are fully developed, treatment will be more difficult. Also, the less mature the teeth, jaws, and facial system are, the more quickly the correction can be accomplished and the less likely there will be a reoccurrence of the problem.
There is another important factor that kids care about even more than the orthodontist. That is the social factor!! Nobody wants braces in high school and you can forget about it in college. There, honestly, is not an “easier” time in your entire life to get braces than as an adolescent.
Therefore, if your child needs braces, they won’t be alone. Some kids even ask for them because their friends have braces. Of course, this shouldn’t be a reason to get braces, but if an orthodontist decides your child needs braces, he or she can go through it with other people and have someone to talk to who understands what it’s like to be wearing braces.
Plus, after your childs braces are taken off, they will feel less self-conscious and more confident. Maybe they will learn the importance of taking care of their teeth, so they won’t need braces later in life or have serious dental problems.
For these reasons, most parents seek orthodontic treatment when their children are young.
Treatment options available for teens
There are many different options available for braces now. These range from the “traditional” metal braces, to invisible braces, such as Invisalign.
Traditional metal braces
Metal braces are no longer what you think they are. Now, they are smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than ever. They are made of high-grade stainless steel and are much more attractive than they used to be.
Brackets are glued to each tooth and wires are threaded through slots in the brackets. Some people also have metal bands on the back teeth.
The wires are held to brackets by tiny elastic bands. The great thing about these bands–they come in a rainbow of colors. Your teen can choose their favorite colors or their school colors. The bands will need to be changed regularly during orthodontic visits. All of this makes getting braces a little bit more fun.
These types of braces are called ceramic brackets and are usually white or tooth-colored. These are made specifically for cosmetic reasons. There are some minor draw backs to ceramic braces such as their larger size and slower tooth movement.
This system for correcting teeth requires no braces. Instead, removable clear plastic appliances fit over the teeth and progressively move them to the desired position.
Invisalign is the most common and well known type of clear aligner. Clear aligners are very popular with patients trying to just line up their teeth. They struggle somewhat when trying to correct malformed jaws and bites.
There is a new technology called Invisalign Teen. These aligners are clear, removable, comfortable, and customized. Wearers can eat and brush as normal. These appliances are great for correcting crooked teeth, but they, similar to regular invisalign, struggle to fully correct bite problems.
Key Takeaway: Metal braces are the best option for most teens because they present the least amount of problems, are cheaper, and can’t be forgotten or misplaced.
Our orthodontist can help you and your teen make the best decision for orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontists have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of misaligned teeth and jaws. So you should always seek the opinion of an orthodontist before making a decision about the best orthodontic treatment for your teen.
Our orthodontist, Dr. Crosby, is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. As a parent, you can feel good about trusting him to correct and align your teen’s teeth. Read more about Dr. Crosby.
Our professional staff is available to answer your questions. Please feel free to call us during our business hours with questions or to schedule an appointment for your teen.