Orthodontics for teenagers
Everybody’s face, jaws, mouth and teeth are structured differently and will grow in different ways as people lose their initial teeth and develop their adult smiles. Orthodontics is concerned with this growth process and ensuring the development of an even smile. Orthodontists typically work to reduce or eradicate problems associated with overbites, cross bites, underbites, cleft palates and crowded teeth, all of which can affect how well-aligned your teeth are.
Orthodontic treatment will most often involve the use of braces to move and reposition the teeth correctly and, while it can be carried out at any age, it most often happens during your early teenage and adolescent years.
Teenage orthodontics: The optimal time for treatment
For most people, by the age of 12 or 13 you will have your full set of adult teeth and any problems with spacing or your bite will be obvious. This makes it the optimal time for orthodontic treatment. Whereas orthodontic treatment in younger children will often focus on the growth and positioning of the jaw, orthodontics for teenagers will be more focused around the positioning of the actual teeth themselves.
Why would teenagers require orthodontics?
Teenage orthodontics are used to correct any problems with tooth positioning in order to improve the smile and set a strong foundation for future oral health.
A healthy smile means that future oral care becomes more straightforward. Orthodontics reduces the gaps between teeth and the number of spaces where food can build up, making brushing and cleaning much easier. The benefits of orthodontics as a teenager will set you up for the rest of your life.
What’s involved in teenage orthodontics?
For the majority of teenagers, orthodontic treatment will involve using braces to slowly move the teeth to a more aligned positioning. There are a number of different brace options available, some of which are more attractive to teenage patients than others.
Traditional braces use metal brackets on the teeth, joined by wires. The wires are regularly tightened to exert a small pressure on the teeth that slowly forces them to their required position.
For some adolescents, however, metal braces are very cumbersome. In these cases, less visible options are available. Ceramic braces match closely to the natural colour of your teeth, making them much more subtle. Lingual braces are less visible again, as they are attached to the inside surface of your teeth.
Invisalign teeth aligners are an increasingly popular and virtually invisible option. While not technically braces, they perform the same function, but are made of a clear plastic that is moulded to fit around your teeth. They can also be removed for cleaning. Invisalign may not be suitable for all cases and depends on the level of treatment required. Your dentist or orthodontist will discuss the suitability of Invisalign with you.
The length of time that teenage orthodontic treatment takes can vary a lot, but will typically last between 12 and 24 months.
Deciding on orthodontics for teenagers
Orthodontics for teenagers can be expensive, though for the majority of patients, the outstanding results make the cost worth it. In general, the less visible a brace is, the more expensive it will be, though there are various other factors that will affect the price.
If you think that you or your adolescent children may need orthodontic treatment, consult with a DCN dentist who will advise on your best course of treatment and help you to select an appropriate orthodontist.