Orthodontics for Teenagers
Traditionally, the years of adolescence are the ones we most strongly associate with braces. And while both children and adults undergo orthodontic treatment, the teenage years are when most people undergo treatment. The jaw and face have fully formed and usually, all the permanent teeth have come in, but there’s still some flexibility and healing that’s a little more difficult for adults.
If you need an orthodontic assessment, you’ll meet Dr, Hodge! Dr. Hodge will listen to your concerns and perform a full assessment of your teeth, including your jaws. Then, you’ll go over the options together to decide what’s right for you. At Hodge’s Orthodontics we offer many types of treatments:
- Traditional metal braces
- Ceramic braces
Together you’ll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each system based on your lifestyle, dental needs, and aesthetic preferences. We know some people may be more comfortable than others with the idea of braces, but with a variety of styles and colors available, braces are much more comfortable and – dare we say? – stylish than in the past.
How long will I need to wear braces?
Everyone is different and the severity of your dental problems will always influence the answer to this question. But in general, the amount of time you’ll be wearing braces depends on three key factors:
Early detection and early treatment help get problems under control before they become more serious – and therefore harder to treat. Early treatment usually involves monitoring the growth of the jaw and recommending further orthodontic treatment as it becomes necessary. Not everyone needs early treatment – in some cases, it may be recommended that you wait to begin treatment. Always consult with your orthodontist and follow their advice.
What Needs Correction
Different dental problems and different teeth require different kinds of orthodontic treatment and this can affect the time it takes to complete. Some patients only need a year of braces – or other orthodontic treatment – while others may require two or more. Times will vary based on how quickly your body responds, how much work is needed to redirect your smile, and how compliant you are as a patient. Which brings us to the next – and most important – factor!
Your willingness to use the devices prescribed to you by your orthodontist is a major factor in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment! It’s simple – if you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth can’t be straightened. This applies to all techniques and devices used to treat your smile. So take care of your braces and appliances and they’ll take care of you much faster – we promise!
It requires a little extra work and practice to keep your braces squeaky clean, but you’ll be so glad you did when they come off! There’s nothing more disappointing than having your braces removed and finding a line of cavities marching across your new smile. We’ll teach you the best ways to brush and floss to help you develop a good oral hygiene routine.
Why do I have to get braces now?
As unfair as it may seem, there is a reason that your teenage years are the optimal time for orthodontic treatment. While there’s no set time-table, usually between ages eleven (11) and thirteen (13), the deciduous teeth (baby teeth) have been lost and permanent ones are moving in. That makes it the perfect time to start correcting malocclusion (a bad bite), improper tooth spacing or poor alignment of your teeth.
Another good reason to start as soon as your orthodontist recommends is that orthodontic problems don’t improve magically with age. In fact, they almost always become harder to treat. Because your body is still growing, it’s easier to treat you – we can use braces and palatal expanders to shape your smile pretty quickly. Once your face and jaw are fully developed this becomes a much longer, more painful process.
And whether or not you hate the idea of braces as a teen, you can’t deny that there are plenty of other people your age with braces – you’re not alone! As you age, it becomes less common to have braces and though there’s no need to be self-conscious, sometimes it’s easier to go through things together. And once you’re done, you’ll have a smile that you’re proud of and better oral health overall!
Do I really need braces?
Yes – if your orthodontist says you need braces or any other orthodontic work, you should seriously consider treatment. But here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
- The early, late, or irregular loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty chewing or biting
- Permanent teeth that are blocked from growing normally
- Crowding or extra spacing between teeth
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- The frequent biting of your cheek or the inside of your mouth
- Teeth that meet abnormally – or not at all
- Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of your face
- The protrusion (flaring forward) or retrusion (angling backward) of teeth
What are the benefits for teens?
There are many benefits to starting orthodontic treatment now – and not all of them revolve around a pretty smile. Straight, well-aligned teeth are also easier to care for and healthier. Some of the benefits include:
- Teeth that are less prone to wear, chipping, and tooth trauma
- Teeth that are easier to keep clean, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities
- Lower chance of developing gum (periodontal) disease
- The improvement of proper chewing and therefore digestion of food
- An attractive, healthy smile
- Improvement in your self-esteem
If you have any questions about orthodontics for teens or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, call us or contact us through the site!