Adolescence is the optimal time for orthodontic treatment, though occasionally even earlier intervention is called for. Generally, by the age of 10-13 the permanent teeth have all come in. Once all adult teeth are present, we can start aligning the teeth and perfecting the bite.
Orthodontic problems do not improve over time — as we age, crowding gets worse, we can start to see gum recession and other complications, and issues that were once minor become more complex. It is easier to treat many orthodontic problems during adolescence because the body is still growing rapidly at this time. When we combine orthodontics and appliances like palatal expanders, we create dental and skeletal stability and an aesthetic result. If we wait until patients are older, the bones of the face and jaw are more fully developed, and many conditions become more difficult (and costly) to treat.
Metal braces. Metal braces today are lighter and smaller than ever. We offer ever color and color combination you can imagine and you can choose different colors at each appointment.
Clear or tooth colored braces. Clear or tooth colored braces are made of a ceramic material so they blend in with the color of your teeth. Ceramic braces work and function the same as metal braces, but they can be more aesthetic.
Clear aligners. Invisalign for adolescent patients is becoming more and more popular. It is a great option because it reduces the number of times you and your child have to be seen in our office, there is no longer a concern about broken brackets and poking wires, and oral home care is easier with a removable tray. However, Invisalign only works if it is worn 22 hours a day. We find that our teenage Invisalign patients are very committed to their overall treatment success and are very compliant patients.
How Long Will Treatment Last?
The length of orthodontic treatment varies widely based on tooth movement goals, growth, compliance, and treatment complexity. We will address your predicted treatment time at your initial consultation.
When appliances are removed, we will give you your first set of upper and lower retainers. These will be worn full time at first, then you will switch to nighttime wear. These retainers protect your teeth and help prevent relapse.