Orthodontics for Teens & Preteens
Orthodontic Treatment Options
There are more treatment options to fix misaligned teeth than ever before. For a full discussion, see our “all about braces” page. However, in general, there are two broad categories of orthodontic treatment options…
Treatment Option 1
Clear Custom Braces for Teens
The most common time for orthodontic treatment usually begins between the ages of 10 and 14. Before this age, if a complex orthodontic problem of the permanent teeth or baby teeth is identified; or, if a bite problem is detected, a Phase 1 treatment is often recommended, known as Early Treatment. Most often, it is misaligned teeth. However, there are some orthodontic problems that are best treated in adolescence, where a secondary growth spurt can assist in the orthodontic correction.
Early adolescence is a good time for dental braces because at this stage in life many of the negative associations children have of braces have not yet developed. Children that undergo orthodontic treatment around this age are often easily convinced to wear braces because they see many of their friends getting them as well. Invisalign Teen has grown to be a very popular option amongst parents and teens looking for an alternative to braces for adult teeth, and teens have been very responsible in wearing them as directed!
Major benefits orthodontists have when working with adolescent children is that they are often able to take advantage of the growth spurts and rapid growth of the child and use it to help shape their bite and teeth correctly. Also, because children have such high metabolisms around this age, it can often help reduce the overall treatment time and discomfort of the orthodontic treatment for teens too.
Treatment Option 2
Clear Aligners (Invisalign) for Teens
Clear aligners, like those offered by Invisalign, have gained popularity among adolescents for various reasons. Here are some factors that make clear aligners a preferred choice over traditional braces:
- Aesthetics: Clear aligners are virtually invisible when worn, making them a discreet option for adolescents with crooked teeth and who may be self-conscious about their appearance. Unlike metal braces that are easily noticeable, clear aligners are a treatment option that does not draw unnecessary attention to their teeth.
- Removability: Aligners are removable, providing flexibility and convenience to adolescents. They can be taken out while eating, drinking (except for water), brushing, and flossing. This allows teenagers to maintain their regular oral hygiene routine and enjoy their favorite foods without restrictions, reducing the impact on their daily activities.
- Comfort: Clear aligners are made of smooth plastic material, eliminating the presence of brackets, wires, and other components that can cause discomfort or irritation to the mouth. This can be particularly appealing to adolescents who participate in sports or play musical instruments, as aligners do not pose the same risk of oral injuries or interfere with their activities.
- Minimal Impact on Speech: While there may be a slight adjustment period, clear aligners typically have less impact on speech compared to traditional braces. Adolescents can speak more naturally without the interference of wires or brackets, which can affect speech clarity for some individuals.
- Easy Maintenance: Aligners are easy to clean and maintain. Adolescents can brush the aligners with a toothbrush and rinse them under lukewarm water. Special cleaning tablets or solutions may also be provided by the orthodontist. Additionally, aligners can be stored in their protective cases when not in use, keeping them hygienic and preventing damage.
- Fewer Orthodontic Visits: Clear aligners generally require fewer visits to the orthodontist compared to traditional braces. Aligners are typically provided in sets, and each set is worn for a specific period before progressing to the next set. This means fewer appointments for adjustments, which can be convenient for busy adolescents and their families.
- Predictable Treatment Plan: Clear aligners utilize advanced technology, such as computer-aided design and 3D imaging, to create a customized treatment plan. Adolescents can visualize the expected progress and end result, providing them with a sense of control and motivation throughout the treatment process.
It’s important to note that clear aligners may not be suitable for all orthodontic cases. Complex or severe misalignments or crowded teeth may still require extra services or traditional braces for optimal results. A free orthodontic consultation with Dr. Chen can help patients determine the most appropriate treatment option based on the individual’s specific needs and orthodontic requirements.
How Can I Make Sure My Teen Gets The Most Out of Their Treatment?
To ensure that your teenager gets the most out of their orthodontic treatment, here are some suggestions and guidelines you can follow:
- Choose a Qualified Orthodontist: Start by selecting a qualified orthodontist who has experience working with teenagers. Look for a professional who is knowledgeable, skilled, and has a good reputation. A trusted orthodontist, like Dr. Chen, will provide comprehensive treatment and guide your teenager through the process effectively.
- Emphasize Compliance: Compliance is vital for successful orthodontic treatment. Make sure your teenager understands the importance of following the orthodontist’s instructions and wearing their aligners or braces as recommended. This includes wearing them for the prescribed amount of time each day and keeping up with the treatment schedule.
- Oral Hygiene: Reinforce the significance of good oral hygiene habits throughout the treatment process. Instruct your teenager to brush their teeth thoroughly after meals and before putting the aligners back in. Encourage them to floss regularly and use any additional oral hygiene tools recommended by the orthodontist, such as interdental brushes or water flossers.
- Diet and Nutrition: Educate your teenager about the foods and beverages that can potentially damage their braces or aligners. Encourage them to avoid sticky or hard foods, excessive sugary snacks, and carbonated drinks. A well-balanced diet, rich in nutrients, can contribute to overall oral health and support the orthodontic treatment process.
- Regular Orthodontic Appointments: Ensure your teenager attends all scheduled orthodontic appointments. These visits are essential for monitoring progress, making adjustments, and addressing any concerns. Regular check-ups allow the orthodontist to ensure the treatment is on track and make any necessary modifications to achieve the desired results.
- Encourage Communication: Encourage your teenager to communicate openly with both you and the orthodontist. If they experience any discomfort, pain, or have questions or concerns about their treatment, they should feel comfortable discussing it. Good communication will help address issues promptly and ensure a positive treatment experience.
- Motivation and Encouragement: Orthodontic treatment can sometimes be challenging, especially during the initial adjustment phase. Offer your teenager motivation and positive reinforcement along the way. Highlight the benefits of treatment, such as a healthier smile, improved oral health, enhanced self-confidence, and the long-term impact on their overall well-being.
- Lead by Example: Set a good example for your teenager by practicing excellent oral hygiene yourself. Demonstrating proper brushing, flossing, and overall dental care will reinforce the importance of maintaining oral health. If you had orthodontic treatment yourself, share your experiences and the positive outcomes you achieved.
Remember, by providing support, guidance, and reinforcement, you can help your teenager make the most of their orthodontic treatment and achieve optimal results.
Treatment for Teens at Marda Loop Braces
At Marda Loop Braces, teens and kids can be themselves. Dr. Chen loves cracking jokes, knows all the latest movies, and can discuss orthodontic procedures and care in ways kids can understand. You’re always cool and special in Dr. Chen’s eyes! Schedule your complimentary consultation today.