Teen Braces

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEENS


While it is recommended that children be screened for braces as early as seven years old, many
people do not have braces installed until the age of 12, so-called teen braces. At this age it is no
longer possible, strictly speaking, to perform interceptive orthodontics; however, significant
movement in the teeth can still be made. In truth, about a decade ago orthodontic treatment
was almost exclusively in patients between the ages of 11 and 18.

The Look Of Teen Braces Is Important
In contrast to kids braces, teen braces are placed at a time when physical appearance can be
extremely important to patients. While the idea of braces has changed over the past ten to
twenty years, many teens are concerned about how they will look in braces. Therefore it is
important (parents, listen up) for teens to have options when it comes to braces in order to
assure compliance. Teens that like their braces and think about them positively are more likely
to perform the work needed to keep teen braces functional and avoid the foods and activities
that could damage them. Proper care shortens orthodontic treatment time and keeps the cost
of braces in check.
Teen braces have been adapted and innovated to be more comfortable than in years past.

Extractions And Teen Braces

Because teens do not get the benefit of interceptive orthodontics, they are often told they
must have several teeth extracted to make room for the rest of their teeth. While this is indeed
the case in many cases, it is never an easy decision. Tooth extraction may in fact change the
profile and look of the face. While this change may be subtle, the teen patient should at least
be aware of it. In some cases the changes in the face may make it more appealing and in others
less so. The decision of tooth extraction needs to be weighed against the benefits of straight
teeth.

Wisdom Teeth And Teen Braces

Towards the end of orthodontic treatment in some patients with teen braces, a few new
visitors come to the party. These uninvited guests, wisdom teeth, crash an otherwise brilliant
orthodontic party. Do wisdom teeth tend to crowd teeth in the front of the mouth? Can
wisdom teeth ruin years of orthodontic treatment? Not really. While it makes sense that
wisdom teeth can be troublesome party crashers (after all, wisdom tooth removal is the most
commonly performed oral surgery) studies on the subject indicate that wisdom teeth do not

negatively impact orthodontic treatment to a significant degree. 1-4 However if your dentist,
orthodontist, or oral surgeon suggests that you have your wisdom teeth removed, consider this
advice carefully. The wisdom teeth may need to come out for a different reason.

Retention And Teen Braces

Realize that even though patients in adolescence have reasonably adult mouths, their teeth are
still prone to shift. Therefore it is important to use retainers when instructed by the
orthodontist.