Teen Braces: When Should Your Kid See an Orthodontist?
Teen braces: they’re necessary for many, and it can be hard to determine when it’s time for your child to see an orthodontist. Here’s what you need to know.
Everyone wants a show-stopping smile, but not everyone is blessed with head-turning teeth from the beginning.
So, it’s no shocker that many people turn to orthodontics for their desired smile.
In fact, about 25 to 50 percent of kids require orthodontics.
Some statistics even show that while 45 percent of kids need braces to fix very obvious problems, there is approximately a whopping 75 percent of children who need orthodontic care for not so blatant issues.
So whether you’re sure of your child’s smile or not, it may be time to check in with an orthodontist to make sure your child or teen is on the right track.
Keep reading to figure out how to make sure your young one winds up with a set of teeth to envy.
Is it Time to Talk Teeth to Your Teen?
Whether or not your child or teen needs braces will be determined by an orthodontist.
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry, and an orthodontist is an expert in diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities.
Not only are orthodontists skilled in treatments that will bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment for cosmetic purposes, but they also help with treatments to prevent physical health problems related to misalignment.
Because of this, it’s important to see your orthodontist at the right time.
When to Take Your Teen to See an Orthodontist
According to the American Association of Orthodontics, you should take your child to an orthodontist examination by the time they are seven years old.
Your child’s pediatric dentist is trained to identify issues, such as those with their bite, at an early age. They will also be able to refer your child to an orthodontist at the appropriate point in time.
So, Why So Young?
Seven years old may seem early for an ortho appointment, since baby teeth are still intact at this point, and their mouths are still developing. However, it’s important to identify any possible issues early on.
A child needs teeth that are straight and jaws that are properly aligned, in order to hold onto a memorable smile.
This ideal smile all begins with the baby teeth.
The way baby teeth are aligned, when and how they fall out, and how much room they are allowing or not allowing for the emergence of adult permanent teeth are all early factors for your child’s lifelong smile.
But What if My Child’s Teeth Look Straight?
While your child’s smile may appear straight and be looking good to you, there may be underlying problems.
Unknowing to you, there may be issues with the way their adult teeth are coming in, with deep bites, open bites, and cross bites, with the relationship of the upper and lower jaw, or with tooth crowding or other problems that ay be occurring due to habits such as thumb sucking.
Lucky for you, there are experts who can determine these underlying issues for you. Orthodontists can pinpoint even the most subtle problems and start correcting them to avoid potential issues for your child’s adult teeth in the future!
The Right Time for Braces
If you’ve waited a little longer to have your child checked out by an orthodontist, don’t sweat it.
While it’s recommended to take your child for an appointment with an orthodontist around age 7, patients with orthodontic problems can benefit from treatment at nearly any age.
That means teen braces can be just as effective.
In fact, an ideal time for the actual placement of braces is between 10 and 14 years of age. This is the age when the head and mouth are still growing, and teeth are more conducive to straightening.
Braces Aren’t Just for the Younger Kids—Benefits of Teen Braces
Aside from the obvious benefits of teen braces and braces for all ages, any adjustments in facial appearance can be traumatic to a child during young, sensitive years.
This means parents should discuss the details of braces with children before braces are applied. Teen braces may be a more beneficial option for you and your family, than starting at a younger and more impressionable age.
Now that They Have Them, How Long do Teen Braces Stay on?
The duration of time that your teen will need braces all depends on the individual situation.
The length of treatment mainly depends on three factors:
1. What Needs Correction
The amount of time your teen will need to wear braces directly correlates with the amount of treatment needed for the specific problem(s) they have.
Each individual patient can and will react differently to treatments. This means, while it may take one patient about a year to complete a treatment, it may take another patient twice as long.
Depending on how quickly your teen’s body responds and how much work is done to give you the desired results, treatment times for teen braces will vary.
2. Your Teen’s Willingness
Attitude is key for teen braces. A teen’s willingness to use the appliances the orthodontist recommends plays a huge role in the length of time to complete their treatment.
It’s incredibly important to take care of braces and appliances. If your teen keeps up with their braces responsibilities, it can make the treatment time shorter.
3. Appointment Consistency
Teens can be a hard age group to wrangle. During teenage years, kids can be very busy, but it’s important not to let this consistently get in the way of treatment and orthodontic appointments.
Most treatment appointments are made several weeks in advance.
Try to stick to a schedule with your teen, and make sure they are showing up for appointments to keep their treatment on track.
Are there Other Options for Teens?
Yes. Besides standard braces, you do have another option for straight teeth, once you and your orthodontist determine there is an issue you’d like to correct for your teen.
Invisalign is an alternative method to braces to improve the appearance of your teen’s smile while also avoiding the hassle of traditional braces.
Using a custom-made series of aligners created specifically for your teen, Invisalign straightens teeth comfortably and discreetly.
The aligner trays are made of smooth and comfortable plastic that your teen wears over their teeth. These aligner trays work to gradually and gently shift your teeth into place.
With no metal brackets to attach and no worries to tighten, Invisalign is an effective and virtually invisible way to reach your smile goals without some of the hassles involved with braces.
Want to hear more? Get in touch – we’re happy to help!