Most teens and parents usually come in seeking straight teeth and a healthy bite. Options for teen orthodontic treatment range from regular metal braces to clear outside braces or a clear aligner system such as Invisalign.
I have a teenager. Does it make a difference when he or she starts treatment?
We get this question asked by parents almost every day. This age can be divided into early (12-15 years), middle (15-16 years) to late teens (17-18 years). It is important to realise these are approximate guidelines and what is most important is their bone age. This assessment can only be made when they attend for a consultation and with proper diagnosis.
Yes, if your son or daughter has an underlying jaw problem, it does make a difference when they start treatment, with earlier treatment leading to better outcomes.
Early Teen Orthodontic Treatment
This is the age when most teens have all their adult teeth through. At this age, their jaw is still developing and there is potential to correct narrow jaws, overbites and deep bites. These are corrected through jaw guidance solutions e.g., wearing a fixed or removable custom plate.
If crowding or spacing is present, it may indicated there is impacted teeth. They are best treated early to allow the teeth to come through naturally, so impaction does not worsen or damage adjacent teeth. Impacted teeth are identified through specialised x-rays done in our practice
Correcting jaws where there are jaw problems allows your son and daughter to obtain ideal smiles outcomes.
This age may be too late to offer jaw guidance options if your son or daughter has an underbite. This is because the areas where the jaw bones connect with other jaw bones ie: sutures, start to harden. In these situations, we may need to monitor his/ her growth till there is no further changes in the jaw position, before commencing orthodontic treatment.
Mid Teen Orthodontic Treatment
Some teens may not develop all their adult teeth till this age.
At this age, it becomes increasingly difficult to widen the upper jaw. Correcting large overbites by guiding the lower jaw forwards also becomes much less effective.
However, possible to straighten the teeth and establish a healthy bite. It may mean accepting the jaw sizes as they are. In other words, significant improvements in your smile are possible and achievable.
Late Teen Orthodontic Treatment
At this time, the jaw bones have mostly hardened. Jaw widening and jaw guidance non-surgery solutions may not work. Teeth moving solutions or jaw surgery can be used to create beautiful smiles or correct jaws.
Please note that if your crowding or spacing is just due to the teeth positions and there are no jaw problems or impacted teeth, then there is no difference in starting treatment as an early teen, mid teen or late teen. If you have an underbite this may be the safe age where we can consider starting orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth.
What Orthodontic braces should get?
There are a variety of appliance options you can choose from including clear outside braces, to self ligating braces, to invisible options like clear removable aligners ie: Invisalign®.
Which is the most effective and efficient for your smile and bite correction depends on the crowding and spacing present in your teeth and the type of teeth movements planned. Generally speaking, the above orthodontic appliances are restricted to mainly moving teeth.