For many teens, braces are a rite of passage—a part of growing up, and growing into the better versions of themselves they want to be. But aside from the correlation orthodontic treatment has with the adolescent experience, there are several reasons why the teen years are the optimal time to undergo braces or Invisalign at Coastal Carolina Orthodontics.
There’s no exact timetable for the development of each person’s teeth. But generally, most people lose their remaining baby teeth and develop the last of their permanent teeth between the ages of 11 – 13. As such, it is around this time that your orthodontist can work on correcting bad bites (malocclusions), improper tooth spacing, and poor tooth alignment.
Orthodontic problems don't improve with age—they simply become harder to treat. It's easier to treat orthodontic issues during adolescence because the body is still growing rapidly and therefore more receptive to change. In later years, when the bones of the face and jaw are fully developed, many conditions become more difficult and costly to treat.
Whether we use traditional braces, appliances like palatal expanders, or Invisalign, our orthodontists can improve the appearance of your smile and enhance its function. Plus, since many adolescents undergo orthodontic treatment around the same time, patients feel more confident with their braces because classmates and friends have them too. They share in the process together, and when it’s done they share smiles they can be proud of and benefits that last a lifetime.
Types of Braces
The type of braces we utilize for adolescent treatment depends on the unique needs of every patient that visits our Jacksonville, Havelock, or Morehead City, NC office. Here are some of the most common types of braces we use:
- Metal Braces need no introduction. But you might be surprised to learn they're smaller and lighter than ever before. Nowadays metal braces are more comfortable, and even offer some customizable options like colored elastic ties on the brackets.
- Clear Braces feature brackets made of ceramic or composite materials, which blend in with your teeth and make the braces harder to notice. These braces are great for many patients, but they do cost a little more.
- Invisalign Teen is a series of removable, clear plastic trays that gradually straighten teeth as they're worn for approximately 22 hours per day. Formerly only recommended for adult patients, Invisalign Teen comes with special features like compliance indicators that tell your orthodontist how often you've been wearing them. Some advantages for Invisalign Teen are their removability, comfort, and that they are practically invisible!
- Other Orthodontic Appliances may be recommended when major tooth or jaw movement is needed. Such appliances can range from small devices that fit inside the mouth to external headgear. But don't worry, these types of treatments are temporary, and provide a long-term benefit in a short time of usage.
How Long Will I Wear Them?
Just as there is no treatment that is the same for everybody, orthodontic treatment timelines are different from person to person too. It all depends on what your orthodontist prescribes for your individual situation. Generally though, the active stage of orthodontic treatment lasts between 6 - 30 months. Afterwards, you will wear a retainer for a period known as the “retention phase.”
The Initial Visit
The first time you come into our Jacksonville, Havelock, or Morehead City, NC office, our team will take pictures and radiographic (X-ray) images of your mouth, and possibly make a model of your bite. Then your orthodontist will develop your treatment plan.
To begin adolescent orthodontic treatment and start your journey toward a straighter, more confident smile, contact our Jacksonville, Havelock, or Morehead City office today. Our orthodontists and skilled team of specialists look forward to helping your smile develop into something beautiful!