Braces for Teens

Most teens and parents usually come in seeking straight teeth and a healthy bite. Braces for teens options range from regular metal braces to clear braces or a clear aligner system such as Invisalign or SPARK.

What is the best age for Braces in Teens?

We get this question asked by parents almost every day. The type of Braces that are most suitable 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.

Braces for Teens at 12-15 years

  • At 12-15 years, most teens have all their adult teeth through. Braces for teens at 12-15 years is at a time when their jaws are still developing. There is potential to correct narrow jaws, overbites and deep bites. Braces for teens appliance options include 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.
  • 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.

Braces for Teens at 15-16 years 

  • Some teens may not develop all their adult teeth till this age.
  • With braces for teens at 15-16 years, it becomes increasingly difficult to widen the upper jaw. Mse Orthodontics becomes more relevant at this age. Correcting large overbites by guiding the lower jaw forwards also becomes much less effective.
  • It is possible to still straighten the teeth and establish a healthy bite. It may mean accepting the jaw sizes as they are or additional appliances like mse orthodontics. Through these means, with braces for teens at 15-16 years, significant improvements in one’s smile are possible and achievable.

Braces for Teens at 17-18 years 

  • With braces for teens at 17-18 years, 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.
  • 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 braces for teens at 12-15 years, 15-16 years or 17-18 years. If you have an underbite this may be the safe age where we can consider starting orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth.

What type of Orthodontic braces for teens should you get?

There are a  variety of appliance options you can choose from including clear braces, self ligating braces, to invisible options like clear removable aligners ie: Spark®. 

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.


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