Orthodontics For Teens
Orthodontic therapy should start being a priority for children as young as seven. That’s when the permanent teeth and facial bones start their path toward maturity. It’s also the best time to identify any pathology that may have developed. The earlier you start observation and treatment, the easier it will be to correct problems later.
Some kids will have genetic flaws in their bite. Or they may exacerbate their overbite with thumbsucking. Problems with crowding or spacing can arrive with the eruption of adult teeth. All of these are issues to discuss with your orthodontist as the child approaches adolescence.
Braces are still the most universal product for teens. Always associated with the perils of adolescence, braces are much improved recently and do not carry many of the old stigmas. Yes, eating habits have to be adjusted and oral hygiene observed rigidly. But ceramic braces are now all the rage, meaning the patient doesn’t have to worry about metal. There are also lingual braces—installed on the tongue side facing in—and self-ligating braces which do not require metal tabs or rubber bands.
Another product that’s had a lot of success is Invisalign Teen. This is a spinoff of the popular Invisalign program, which uses clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth in plain sight. The teen version is specified for the younger patient’s more malleable dental features, and includes a “blue-dot” tracking system that makes it easier to know when to exchange your aligners for a new set.
Most orthodontic treatment at these ages will be all about bite. Malocclusion can affect everything from joint development to tooth and gum function. Then there’s the psychological effect of smiling without confidence, or editing your smile to hide teeth that are crowded or rotated.
For more about teen orthodontics, contact our dental office.
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