Orthodontic Treatment for Teens
The teenage years are the most common time for orthodontic treatment. Patients age 12 to 17 represent more than half of the over two million orthodontic cases in the U.S. each year according to the American Association of Orthodontists.
Sometimes permanent teeth are not completely straight on their own. They may be twisted, crooked and fail to fit together correctly. Fixing these issues not only improves the smile, but also improves the overall oral health of your teenager. When teeth are properly aligned, they are easier to clean, and the risk of cavities and gum disease significantly decreases. Using x-rays and other diagnostic tools, an orthodontist will be able to determine if orthodontic treatment may be beneficial.
What are the choices for teen treatment?
Traditional braces are usually the treatment of choice for the majority of orthodontic problems. The most common age range for orthodontic treatment is 12 to 15 years. By age 12, most permanent teeth have erupted, and crooked teeth, gaps, and bite issues are easy to identify. These problems will likely not improve without orthodontic intervention. Teenagers generally wear braces for 1 to 3 years, but every case is different. Additional options for braces include:
- Ceramic or clear braces
- Invisalign Teen
- Lingual braces
- Gold braces
Teenagers who eat right, practice good dental hygiene, and follow all instructions typically complete treatment on time. Once the braces are removed, a retainer is worn to ‘retain’ the beautiful, healthy smile you worked so hard to get!
The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment for Your Teenager
There are many benefits to beginning orthodontic treatments during the teenage years. For most teenagers, this is a time when many of their friends are also undergoing orthodontic treatment. This may help put them at ease and feel better about wearing braces. Teenagers are also still growing. Orthodontists can take advantage of this growth to help move the teeth and correct the bite and alignment.
For teenage patients, image can be important and we are pleased to be able to offer other options to straighten teeth and achieve a beautiful lifelong smile. If the thought of metal braces terrifies your teenager, we offer Invisalign Teen® or ceramic braces as an alternative. Not all cases can be treated with Invisalign Teen, so Dr. Almy will perform an examination to determine if it is right for your teen.