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Orthodontics for Teens: 5 Things Parents Should Know

By March 4, 2024Orthodontics

So, your teen could benefit from orthodontics. If it’s your first time navigating the world of orthodontic treatment, this news can feel a little overwhelming. That’s why Dr. Anand Patel and The Brace Place team want to help make the journey of teen orthodontics easy for you and your teen: let’s cover five things you need to know, from the best age to get braces to your appliance options.

1. See An Orthodontist Early

Let’s talk about timing. One of the first things you might wonder is when to see an orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that kids come in for a first orthodontic evaluation around age seven. Sound a bit early for when to see an orthodontist? Actually, it’s the perfect time for a first visit: at this age, kids have a mix of adult and baby teeth, so an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Patel can spot potential issues.

Now, an early visit doesn’t mean your child will walk out with braces. Most of the time, an early examination just kickstarts regular check-ins as your child grows. Dr. Patel will let you know when your child arrives at the best age to get braces or Invisalign for their unique case.

2. Early Orthodontics Can Make Teen Orthodontics Easier

But what if early intervention is suggested at your initial visit? Phase 1 orthodontics, or early interceptive treatment, may include an expander, space maintainer, or limited braces. Early treatment starts between ages 6-10 and helps guide jaw growth, correct bite problems, or ensure space for adult teeth to grow correctly. Benefits? Phase 1 orthodontics can:

  • Prevent more severe problems later on
  • Reduce the need for tooth extractions or surgery
  • Shorten treatment time in the teen years
  • Even eliminate the need for teen orthodontics!
  • Make braces or Invisalign Teen® easier and more affordable

3. Today’s Orthodontic Treatments for Teens are Discreet and Effective

Gone are the days when chunky metal braces were the only option for teen orthodontics. At The Brace Place, we offer two types of braces: sleek, modern metal braces with smaller brackets and thinner wires and clear ceramic braces that use nearly-invisible, tooth-colored brackets.

Teens can also choose the clear aligner system Invisalign Teen® at The Brace Place. A discreet alternative to braces, removable clear aligners are custom-made for your teen’s teeth. How is Invisalign Teen different from regular Invisalign®? Invisalign Teen includes special eruption tabs to accommodate erupting molars. Plus, your kid gets extra sets of aligners, just in case they lose a few in their shuffle between school, activities, home, and leisure time.

Our patients who have chosen Invisalign appreciate their near-invisibility, and, unlike braces, you don’t have to change how you eat (keep the popcorn coming!) because you take them out for eating, drinking anything other than water and cleaning your teeth.

4. Oral Hygiene is Super Important

Keeping teeth clean during orthodontic treatment is crucial whether you have Invisalign Teen, clear braces, or metal braces. Orthodontic work can trap food and plaque, so it’s essential for your teen to level up their oral hygiene, brushing and flossing even more diligently (and frequently!) than before.

Consider investing in an electric toothbrush or water flosser and adding mouthwash. And remember, with Invisalign, your teen has the added step of cleaning their clear aligner trays before putting them back in. A weekly deep clean is also not to be missed.

Good oral hygiene will keep your teen’s smile healthy throughout their treatment and prevent delays from addressing cavities or gum disease. As a bonus, A+ oral hygiene also means your teen will reveal a sparkling smile when the orthodontics come off!

5. It’s Not Just About Looks

Without a doubt, straight teeth are nice to look at and can boost self-confidence, but teen orthodontics is more than just cosmetic. A well-aligned bite has overall health benefits, making chewing and speaking efficient and even alleviating breathing issues. It can also prevent jaw problems and uneven wear on teeth. And properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, reducing the likelihood of cavities and gum disease. Simply put, orthodontic treatment for teens is a long-term investment in their oral health, not just a short-term aesthetic fix.

Teen Orthodontics With Your Expert Tulsa and Claremore, OK Orthodontist

Now that you’re up-to-speed on the top things you should know about teen orthodontics, what’s the next step? Make your first appointment at our Tulsa or Claremore office with Dr. Patel and our expert, friendly team at The Brace Place.

Whether your child needs Phase 1 orthodontics or it’s time for teen orthodontics with Invisalign Teen, clear braces, or traditional metal braces, our personalized, high-tech approach and wealth of experience means your teen will be flashing a healthy, confident smile that will last a lifetime.