Braces for Teens: Here’s What You Need To Know
Braces for teens work in a few different ways depending on exactly which type you’re talking about. Traditional braces, for example, consist of a series of brackets that are attached to the teen’s teeth and a wire that then connects the brackets to each other. The strength of that wire essentially “pulls” the teeth into the desired position over a long period of time, thus correcting any bite problems or other issues the teen might be experiencing.
Something like ceramic braces operates in a very similar way, although they have the advantage of being teeth-colored and thus more discreet.
Teens can need braces at this important stage in their lives for a number of reasons, including to correct a myriad of different bite problems as they develop. Likewise, the choice could be made purely for aesthetic reasons – they just want to enjoy that perfect smile they’ve always seen for themselves.
Typically, teens will wear braces for anywhere between 12 and 24 months. This will obviously vary depending on a number of factors, including the severity of the issues being corrected and others. Your orthodontist will go over all of this with you ahead of time so that you know exactly what to expect before treatment begins.
The Teen Lifestyle and Braces
It is absolutely possible for a teen to continue to enjoy their lifestyle while wearing braces – they’ll just need to proceed with caution in a few key areas.
If a teen is engaged in sports or any other type of intense physical activity, for example, it is ALWAYS recommended that they wear a mouth guard for maximum protection.
Likewise, there are certain types of foods that they will definitely want to avoid. These include:
- Hard foods like hard pretzels, fruits like apples and anything of that nature.
- Chewy foods like pizza crusts.
- Sticky foods like certain types of candies (think: licorice).
- Any type of food that could potentially damage either the brackets or get stuck between the wires if you’re not incredibly careful. Something like popcorn (or even corn on the cob) would definitely fall under this category.
Your orthodontist will again go over all of this with you prior to the beginning of your treatment so that you know exactly what to do and how to do it.
Caring For Your Teen’s Braces
Thankfully, braces have evolved in such a way that they really aren’t as difficult to care for as they once were. That doesn’t mean they’re maintenance-free, however.
You should absolutely continue to practice all of your regular brushing and flossing techniques, only now you’ll also need to be mindful of brushing and flossing between the brackets and wires themselves. You should continue to brush after every meal and at the very least a few times a day.
Teens with braces will also need to make regular visits to the orthodontist. This isn’t just in an effort to make sure that your treatment is proceeding as it should. If any small problems are discovered, it’s easier to correct them right away rather than wait and have them turn into much more severe issues down the road.