TEENAGERS AND BRACES- WHAT DO WE NEED TO KNOW?

Being a teenager can be difficult without throwing crooked teeth into the mix. When orthodontic treatment becomes a must, it’s important that you and your teen have all the right information in order to make the most of it, and get the best possible results!
This blog will go over why more and more teenagers are opting for braces, how braces have the potential to improve their confidence and general quality of life, as well as all the important tips your teenager will need to be fully prepared for their treatment.

Why Are More Teenagers Getting Braces?

You might be a little surprised when your teenager approaches you asking for braces. Traditionally, young adults have been a little more hesitant to pursue orthodontic treatment due to the aesthetic implications. Metal braces can really cramp their style for a few years – so if they’re asking for them, they must be taking their oral health seriously!

So – why the sudden change? The bottom line is, teenagers are typically looking for acceptance. Aside from just that, one thing they usually want above all else is to feel confident in their own skin. Straight teeth have a funny way of making that happen! So many studies have come up in recent years linking great smiles to feelings of self-worth and value, and making the decision to get braces is the first step towards this self-esteem boost.
If your teen is actively interested in pursuing this goal, you should be happy and proud!

Their Friends Have Them

There’s certainly comfort in numbers, especially as a young person. Making the decision to get braces is often made easier if they see others at their school wearing them, and when their close friends have them, it’s even better.
Friends can also offer encouragement as far as describing how the process really goes, their own personal experience, and ultimately ensuring them that it isn’t as bad as they think! Everyone gets nervous about the concept of braces, but if they’re able to share the experience with their peers, every step of the journey becomes just a little bit easier.

It’s An Easy Way To Be Healthy

One of the best and easiest ways to take care of your oral health long term is to have braces! Teeth that are in the correct biting and chewing position are also easier to clean. Teeth that are crowded are more difficult to brush and floss. Bacteria can hide easier!
Orthodontic treatment itself is also quite easy. Once they get over the initial discomfort the first few days have to offer, treatment is basically in the hands of Dr. Goodwin. All they have to do is follow his instructions, be a little more careful than normal, and stick to a good oral hygiene routine that will keep them clean and intact. You’d be surprised by how easy it is to care for braces – eventually it’ll become second nature to them.
With combining the perks of ease and great results, it’s no wonder more teenagers than ever are gravitating towards this option.

How Can I Make Sure My Teen Gets The Most Out of Their Treatment?

Once you and your teen know why they pursue treatment, there are many things that will influence their treatment. The first is compliance. Compliance means that your teen comes to every scheduled appointment and that they follow the treatment recommendations. This includes not eating sticky foods that could pull of brackets, wearing their elastics as indicated and of following a daily brushing/flossing routine.
As a parent you’ll want to partially monitor their treatment and watch out for a few key indicators that will let you Dr. Goodwin’s recommendations.

What Orthodontic Treatment is Best? Traditional Braces (Brackets) or Clear Aligner Trays?

Orthodontic treatment isn’t limited to just traditional metal braces anymore, even when it comes to teenagers. In recent years, clear aligner trays (Invisalign, Clear Correct, etc.) have shown to be an extremely successful and viable option when it comes to straightening out dental irregularities, and is often considered alongside traditional braces when it comes down to choosing a course of action.
The following is a brief summary of the differences between traditional braces and clear aligner trays:

  • Traditional braces/brackets are needed to correct severe crowding and bite problems (overbite or underbite). There are several other dental conditions that require traditional brackets. Traditional braces are used for several months (typically 12-24 months) and can be used with several orthodontic assistive devices (bands, springs, etc.). Traditional braces are cemented on each tooth and are connected by a wire. The wire is usually held in place by tiny colorful bands. They are typically on the teeth for the entire treatment period.
  • Clear aligner trays (Invisalign, Clear Correct, etc) are intended for minor orthodontic treatment. They are a series of clear trays that fit over the teeth and move them gradually over several months. Trays must be worn at least 22 hours a day and can be removed to eat or to brush teeth. For some trays, small bumps (called engagers) need to be added to the teeth in order for the tray to fit correctly. Trays are typically worn for 2-3 weeks and then traded out for a new tray. Clear aligner tray treatment is usually for shorter cases (3-12 months) and requires diligence in wearing trays for the required amount of time each day and good oral hygiene.

There are pros and cons to each type of orthodontic treatment. For some patients, the only orthodontic option is traditional braces with brackets, wires, bands, and other assistive devices. Dr. Goodwin will discuss which type of orthodontic treatment is recommended for your teen.

Is Their a Cost Difference Between Traditional Braces and Clear Aligner Trays?

The costs for the traditional braces and clear aligner trays is usually the same price. However, if clear aligner trays are only needed for 3 months, the cost is usually less expensive.

Excellent Orthodontic Treatment Requires Excellent Oral Care

Oral care during orthodontic treatment can be a little more challenging. Hardware on the teeth, wires, and bands can make it harder to reach the teeth. Also, food can get stuck between brackets and can collect on clear aligner trays if teeth are not brushed and flossed daily. The collection of food can cause halitosis (bad breath), dental caries (tooth decay), gingivitis (gum disease), periodontal disease (a disease of the tooth ligaments), and abscesses (infections).
It is recommended that patients with braces (traditional or clear aligner trays) brush in the morning, after every meal or snack, and before bedtime. Flossing should be done twice a day.
Excellent oral care can prevent caries (tooth decay) and white discolorations (scars on the teeth where it has tried to recover from minor caries).

Make Sure Both of You Are Listening to the Orthodontist

Dr. Goodwin will be the guide for your teeth throughout their orthodontic treatment and you should ensure that your teen is following his instructions, and you’re aware of what’s expected of your teen. Many teens come to their appointments without a parent. This creates great flexibility for your teen (they can walk over from the Middle or the High School without having to have a parent bring them to their during school-time appointments). However, many times teens to not communicate with you, the parent of their appointment recommendations.
Dr. Goodwin went through a lot of schooling and training to become an expert in their field and to treat his patients accurately in the best way possible. He has worked on a variety of cases and with a long list of patients, so in short, he knows what he is talking about!
If your teen does not follow his guidelines, no amount of experience will produce the desired results. If you and your teen are anxious for them to wrap up their treatment as efficiently and quickly as possible, follow all instructions given, and ensure that you’re asking them for questions and advice when necessary. This includes coming to their regular appointments (every 2-3 weeks), excellent oral care, wearing of bands, avoiding sticky foods, etc.

Orthodontic Treatment Needs Retention=Wear Your Retainer!

It is important to talk to your teen about making sure they don’t lose or damage their retainer(s)! Once your teen has completed their orthodontic treatment, a retainer will be created for the upper and the lower teeth. Most of the time, the lower retainer is cemented in place. The upper retainer is usually a removable appliance. It is important that your teen wear the retainer(s) as instructed and keep the retainer(s) in good condition. If the retainer is not worn correctly, the teeth will shift and move. The position of the teeth could potentially return to pre-orthodontic position.
It is important that your teen wear their retainer 22 hours a day for the first 2-4 weeks after their braces are removed. After that, retainers might be worn during the night or for less time. Dr. Goodwin will evaluate the retention and make recommendations.
It is important that if a retainer is lost, an appointment needs to be made immediately! Teeth begin to shift/move in 24-48 hours. We will need to take impressions and send for a replacement retainer as soon as possible! Retainer replacement is not covered by the original orthodontic payment. The cost for a replacement retainer is usually $150 per retainer.

Forever Smiles

We love creating beautiful smiles! We do our very best to make your teen’s smile one of their greatest assets. We want to see their amazing smile year after year! Please ensure that your child follows their post-orthodontic recommendations and has their twice a year cleanings! We want to be sure that their smile is healthy and beautiful forever!

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