Teens are the classic orthodontics patients, at an age where orthodontic problems are typically more evident. We offer teen patients attractive and fun options for straightening teeth and correcting the bite. During the initial consultation, we’ll discuss the options for treatment that are best suited to their individual needs. No one dreads wearing unfashionable braces more than a teenager. However, braces have evolved a lot in recent years. With early evaluations, more treatment options, and proper care, braces for teens can be less noticeable and much quicker for teens today.
Is My Teen Ready For Braces?
In addition to determining when teenagers are physically ready to get braces, we have to consider the level of maturity needed when wearing braces. An unwillingness to follow the guidelines necessary to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile could result in unsuccessful and repeated treatments.
The ideal time for children and teenagers to begin orthodontic care is between 10 and 14 years old. Starting braces between 10 and 14 is ideal because teenagers should be missing baby teeth and have most adult teeth in place. At the same time, their teeth and jaws have not stopped growing, making the adjustment process more manageable.
An early orthodontics evaluation can determine the right time for your teen. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends evaluations as early as seven years old to give you time to develop and manage an orthodontic treatment plan.
What Should My Teen And I Expect?
As discussed, your teen must be physically and mentally mature enough to handle braces. While more manageable and less uncomfortable than ever before, the path to a beautiful and perfect smile is not without added effort.
Braces require additional oral hygiene practices to prevent plaque buildup. Braces’ brackets and wiring systems leave plenty of space for food and plaque to hide. Improper care of braces could lead to further oral issues.
In addition to increased emphasis on oral care, teenagers must refrain from eating certain foods to prevent damage to braces. Foods include:
- Chewy foods such as thick hard bread
- Crunchy foods such as ice and popcorn
- Food that requires sinking your teeth into, such as apples and corn on the cob
- Hard foods such as candy
- Sticky foods like gum and taffy
These restrictions may seem burdensome for teenagers, however, avoiding these foods doesn’t mean they have to eliminate them. For example, biting into a whole apple is not safe while wearing braces, but eating small diced apples is fine. Be sure to check with our team on what foods to avoid and alternatives to eating these foods.
Teenagers should also avoid certain unhealthy chewing habits, such as biting on pencils and fingernails. Braces for teens are worn for about 12-18 months, depending on the patient. Developing a good understanding of the responsibilities and proper habits is essential to a smooth and successful treatment plan.
Options For Braces
At Santucci Orthodontics, we specialize in two types of braces:
- Traditional metal braces with Pitts21 self-ligating features
- Ceramic braces
Traditional braces involve metal brackets fastened to the front of teeth, connected by an archwire and elastic bands. We make adjustments by tightening the archwire every six to eight weeks.
We focus on a modern version of traditional braces applying Pitts 21 self-ligating features. Instead of elastic bands, Pitts21 braces use metal clips with a unique wire threading feature that reduces pressure on the teeth.
Other advantages include ease of care and adjustment. While increased oral hygiene is still necessary, caring for and cleaning around the metal clips is easier. In addition, adjustments require fewer and shorter appointments.
Ceramic braces work the same as traditional braces but use transparent and neutral-colored materials intended to match tooth colors and make them less noticeable. Ceramic braces are less durable and more susceptible to damage and staining if not cared for properly. Although popular because they are more discreet, ceramic braces may not be the best option for teens who are unlikely to follow best practices when it comes to food and hygiene.
Choosing The Right Braces For Your Teen
While we believe the treatment decision should definitely involve the parent or guardian, we also know that it is important for teens to have input regarding the type of braces they want and the orthodontic team they trust. Including your teen throughout the entire process ensures that they are more likely to better understand care guidelines and what to expect.
Choosing the right braces for teens can be a challenge. Let the experienced and caring team of orthodontic professionals at Santucci Orthodontics explain your options and help you make that choice. During your free consultation, we can explain your teenagers’ orthodontic issues and alleviate any concerns you may have.