Teen Years Is a Great Time for Orthodontic Treatment
- Crowded teeth
When can I start treatment?
Most people have all their adult teeth by the time they reach 12 or 13. That means any spacing or bite problems become fairly obvious, and it’s a great time to start orthodontic treatment!
Early orthodontic treatment, which can begin as early as seven years of age, tends to focus on guiding the growth of the jaw and managing crowding but teen orthodontic treatment focuses instead on the positions of the teeth.
When teeth aren’t positioned correctly, they are more vulnerable to dental problems. In some people crowding can make them harder to clean, which can lead to problems like decay and gum disease. Getting the problems corrected early can help you keep your teeth healthier for life.
Causes of Crooked Teeth
Crooked teeth are common among all age groups. Even baby teeth can come in crooked! Teeth can come in crooked due to a mismatch between the size of the teeth and jaw, heredity and genetics. However, sometimes our habits can play a role, including:
- Our modern diet, which requires less chewing compared to our ancestors’ diet
- Thumb-sucking, pacifier-use or prolonged bottle-use
- Tongue thrusting
- Dental trauma or facial injuries
Orthodontic treatment can correct a crooked smile, but is it the right choice for you? It’s a personal decision that can be affected by many factors, including your budget, your insurance and any dental issues that are caused by your crooked teeth.
Risks of Crooked Teeth
Are crooked teeth a bad thing?
For most people, slightly crooked or misaligned teeth don’t pose any real risk to their dental or general health. For others, however, crooked teeth can make it more difficult to clean leading to gum and tooth problems.
In other cases, a person’s crooked teeth might not pose any health problems, but they’re still a source of distress. Crooked teeth are considered charming or attractive in many cultures, but you might not be happy with your smile. If you find yourself avoiding social situations or smiling because of your crooked teeth, that can be a problem, and it can be fixed.
Orthodontic Treatment Options
Do I Have to Wear Braces?
Today, our patients have more treatment options than ever before!
Dr Hopkins will need to perform a comprehensive evaluation for an accurate diagnosis, and then we’ll recommend the most appropriate treatments for your smile and your needs.
Previous generations had few options when it came to orthodontics: They could choose to wear braces or just go without treatment. Today, you have lots of different options, including both braces and clear aligners and plenty of variations of both.
Braces are one of the most common treatments to move and reposition the teeth. Although they can be used at any age, they’re most commonly applied during the early teen years.
Most teens are candidates for conventional dental braces, which are attached directly to the teeth with metal brackets. These brackets are connected by archwires, which are periodically adjusted to maintain the pressure that is needed to move them into the correct position.
Ceramic braces use ceramic tooth-coloured brackets designed to closely match the colour of your smile, so they’re not noticeable. Lingual braces are even more subtle because they’re applied to the inner surfaces of your teeth. You can smile with confidence as your teeth get straighter every week!
Aligners are another option. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are nearly invisible when you wear them. They are made of a clear plastic material that is moulded to fit your teeth precisely. The aligners slip over your teeth and apply pressure at specific points. Every two weeks, you’ll wear a different set of aligners, which maintains your progress and keeps your teeth moving in the right direction.
Invisalign offers several benefits, including:
You can continue eating your favourite foods because you take the aligners out before meals and snacks. You also brush and floss with the aligners out, making dental hygiene easier. Aligners are particularly popular with teens because they won’t interfere with your diet or social life, and you can feel confident throughout treatment!
What’s My Next Step?
That depends on what you want and need.
At your initial appointment, Dr Hopkins will examine your teeth, gums, jaw and your bite. If you’re a candidate for braces or Invisalign, we’ll explain your treatment options, potential costs, risks and benefits and alternative treatments.
Once you’ve started treatment, you’ll need to be careful about your dental hygiene and take steps to protect your smile. We’ll help you get started and keep you on the road to good dental health.
Call our office today to find out more or to schedule your first appointment with Dr Hopkins.