Teens who are happy with their smiles have more success socially with their peers as well as in their school work and other activities, thanks to their increased self-confidence. Conversely, teens who are self-conscious or embarrassed by their smiles tend to struggle as adolescence can be a challenging time.
The American Association of Orthodontists® recommends that a child has their first orthodontic examination when they are seven years old to detect any problems at an early age. That doesn’t mean treatment is always needed at age seven, but it’s a great time to see what’s below the gum line surface to prepare for future treatment.
If treatment is not needed until the teen years, we find that adolescents are often more open to wearing braces because that’s also when their friends may be wearing them, so they don’t feel alone. Instead, they feel like they fit in. Pre-teens and teens also have growth spurts, which is a great opportunity to align their teeth and have a proper bite (often with a shorter treatment time as their metabolism is so high). Another benefit of straight teeth and an aligned bite is that your child’s oral and physical health can improve.
It is easier to shift your child’s teeth and jaw alignment into place versus when they are grown because their facial growth isn’t yet complete. Once the teeth and jaw stop growing, orthodontia can be more difficult to treat and take more time to complete.
Better Oral Health
Correctly aligned teeth help your teen speak more clearly, chew their food, breathe, and sleep better, and help them feel confident. Straight teeth are easier to clean, so they can prevent cavities and gum disease as well as headaches if their jaws are misaligned.
Your child might need early treatment if they have malocclusion from:
- Accidental injury or trauma
- Extended thumb sucking or pacifier use
- Dental disease
- Premature tooth loss
- Or simply genetics (if parents have/had a bad bite, it’s quite possible your child will too.)
Orthodontics can correct an overbite, overcrowded teeth, protrusions or gaps between teeth. But, in the age of social media and selfies, many teens are shy about wearing metal braces. Fortunately, ceramic braces are a great alternative as they are more discreet. If your child is younger, having colorful rubber bands can be a desirable aesthetic if their peers are also wearing braces, while older teens do better with clear aligners because they are hardly noticeable.
How do you know if your teen needs braces?
- They feel self-conscious about their teeth and lack self-confidence
- They have trouble chewing and biting their food
- They have teeth with too much space between them
- There is overcrowding in the mouth
- Their bite is off (malocclusion)
- Their jaws make clicking or popping sounds and are prone to shifting
Putting off an orthodontic evaluation can mean bigger problems for your child later on. We are happy to evaluate your child’s teeth and bite with a free initial consultation. If problems are spotted early, they are usually less invasive and least costly to correct.
If your child has never had an orthodontic exam or they are exhibiting any of the issues mentioned, we are here to help! Scheduling your child’s free initial consultation is just a CLICK or CALL away! They deserve to have a beautiful, healthy, confident smile and we are happy to help!