The teenage years are an excellent time to consider braces. Orthodontic treatment is most efficient and socially acceptable during this time.
What are braces for teenagers?
Braces come in all sizes, materials, styles, and colors, making them more acceptable and comfortable than ever. Some options include:
- Traditional metal braces – The most common type of braces. They are highly efficient and result excellent treatment outcomes.
- Ceramic or clear braces – Made from ceramic, tooth-colored material. Ceramic or clear braces are less visible than traditional metal braces, but still as effective.
At Bellevue Orthodontics, we are proud to offer more aesthetic and less visible treatment options for teens who want straighter teeth, but do not want braces to show. These include:
- Hidden braces behind the teeth – A great option for teens who do not qualify for Invisalign treatment. These braces are glued behind the teeth and are truly invisible.
- Invisalign – A series of clear, plastic aligners that straighten teeth. A great option for teens with mild biting problems. They must be worn at least 22 hours daily for optimal results.
When should your teen get braces?
The early teenage years are the best time to get braces due to several developmental changes that favor orthodontic treatment. These include:
- The adolescent growth spurt
- Transition to the adult dentition
- Growth of the skeletal jaws (maxilla and mandible)
For these reasons, orthodontic treatment is faster and most efficient between the ages of 12-15.
This does not mean that every teen should get braces. Because teens sometimes continue to grow into their early 20s, some conditions, such as severe underbites, may require monitoring rather than immediate intervention. We proudly offer complimentary monitoring for younger patients who are not yet ready for treatment.
Advantages of getting braces as a teen vs. as an adult
There are many advantages to getting braces as a teen rather than waiting until adulthood.
Braces as a TEEN
Braces as an ADULT
|More socially acceptable||Less socially acceptable|
|Treatment is often more straightforward||Treatment is often more complicated|
|Often does not require other dental needs other than regular cleanings and exams||Often requires more interdisciplinary coordination among various dental providers|
|Often less expensive||Often more expensive|
|Can guide growth of the jaws||Cannot guide growth of the jaws|
|Can sometimes avoid jaw surgery||Severe biting problem of skeletal origin may require jaw surgery|
For these reasons and many others, we encourage all families to bring their children for a complimentary consultation. This way, we can give you customized information on the optimal time for your child to begin treatment.
Considerations before starting teen braces
There are several considerations prior to beginning orthodontic treatment as a teenager. Your teen needs to:
- Have established care with a general dentist
- Be free of cavities
- Have good oral hygiene
- Understand that braces relies on compliance
Getting Started With Braces
Getting started with braces at Bellevue Orthodontics is an easy and smooth process.
Initial Complimentary Examination
At this appointment, we will evaluate your teenager’s orthodontic needs and treatment options. We will also review treatment fees and answer any questions you may have. In some cases, we can even begin treatment at this appointment.
Records & Consultation
If we did not obtain records during the first appointment, we will take a series of diagnostic records and discuss treatment planning. Records include:
- Low radiation X-rays
- 3D digital scan or impression
Braces are applied to the teeth
If your child didn’t start treatment at the previous appointment, our orthodontic team will apply your teen’s braces at this appointment. Our orthodontists will glue the brackets onto your teenager’s teeth and deliver the first orthodontic wire.
We will schedule your teenager every 6-8 weeks to make adjustments to the wires.
What to Expect after Getting Braces
After braces are applied to the teeth, there is a period of adaptation. Your child may notice:
- Soreness of the teeth
- Increased difficulty brushing and flossing
- Minor sores on the lips, cheeks, or tongue
- Mild speech changes
These symptoms usually last up to a week and readily go away. Our orthodontic team will provide strategies for dealing with these symptoms. The exciting part is that it is not uncommon to notice teeth moving in the first few weeks!
How long does treatment take?
The time your teen will be in braces depends on many factors, including compliance and the severity of your child’s biting problem. On average, treatment lasts anywhere between 12 and 24 months.
Life after Braces
Once your child has their braces removed, our priority is to make sure that it lasts a lifetime! The best way to ensure this is to wear a retainer. We ask that you wear your retainer around the clock at first, and switch to night-time wear after three months. Retainers then be worn indefinitely—the longer they are worn, the higher the chances are that their new smile will last them a lifetime!
Why choose Bellevue Orthodontics?
We specialize in orthodontics and braces for teens. It is the heart and soul of what we do. We are proud to provide the most personalized treatment in a comfortable and caring atmosphere. We do not cut corners. Our process is smooth, technologically advanced, and results in faster and more efficient treatment. Our orthodontists are professionals with rigorous training, teaching, and research experience at some of the best universities in the world. Most importantly, we treat each of our patients like family. We are confident that you will have a pleasant and rewarding experience in our office and look forward to welcoming you to the Bellevue Orthodontics family!