If your teen needs braces, they may have questions about the process. Teens are often worried about how the braces will make them look or whether it will be embarrassing. Older models of braces might have been unsightly or caused difficulty with speech. The truth is that orthodontics has come a long way. There are different options for braces so that your teen can be comfortable with the fit and look of their braces during the treatment process. And the best news of all, once they’ve finished their prescribed treatment with braces, they’ll have a beautiful and healthy smile.
Different Types of Braces for Teens
There are several types of braces to choose from. Your orthodontist can discuss the best options for your teen after a careful examination. These are the four main types to choose from:
- Metal Braces – Metal braces are the ones most people think of when they hear about braces. They have metal brackets and wires, so they are visibly noticeable. They can often be more cost-effective and maybe the best treatment option to fix certain types of bite issues. There are options to use colored bands to give your teen some options.
- Clear Braces – Clear braces function like metal braces, but they’re clear, so they are less noticeable. This can be an excellent option for many teens who are uncomfortable with the look of metal braces.
- Invisalign – Invisalign treatments are clear molds (or aligners) that fit over your current teeth. The aligners are virtually invisible. The teen switches to the next aligner as their teeth move into place.
How Long Will I Wear Braces?
The treatment time varies depending on the patient and how much they adhere to the treatment plan. Some types of braces may take longer than other types. For instance, clear braces are more prone to broken brackets. When this happens, you’ll have to go in and have the bracket repaired, and it can prolong the amount of time that you’ll need to wear braces.
For most teens, braces will need to be worn for two years. Some cases may only need 12 months, and other cases may need as long as three years. It really depends on the treatment plan and the type of issue the braces are meant to correct. Your orthodontist can go over the treatment plan with you and give you a good estimate for the exact length of time at the initial visit.
What Foods Will I Have to Avoid When Getting Braces?
When you have braces, there are some foods you want to avoid because they get stuck and are difficult to clean, or they are prone to breaking brackets. For the most part, if you’re careful and make good choices, braces don’t much limit your diet. Hard or crunchy foods can break brackets. You don’t want to bite into hard candy, for instance. Chewy foods, like taffy, can be difficult to clean out of your braces. This type of food can get stuck between braces and teeth, and if you don’t brush and floss meticulously, you’ll run the risk of staining teeth or attracting cavities. Popcorn, for instance, is notoriously hard to clean out of braces.
Most orthodontists will caution you to avoid sugary foods when possible because they are bad for the teeth and your braces make it more difficult to clean well.
How Do I Care for My Teeth While Wearing Braces?
Your orthodontist will direct you on the best way to brush teeth with braces and floss. It is slightly more difficult to get the area clean with braces. You want to make sure to angle the toothbrush in order to get under the wires and fully clean the teeth. You also need to make sure you’re cleaning the brackets themselves and the exposed tooth area around them. Not caring for your teeth properly can lead to a white spot where the brackets were placed once the braces are removed. It’s important to make sure you clean properly because that staining can’t be removed with a simple cleaning.
How Do I Protect My Mouth When Playing Sports with Braces?
A mouthguard is recommended for teens who play sports with braces. This helps protect the braces and the inside of your mouth. Any sport where you might have contact with a ball or person can pose a risk. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
How Much Do Braces Cost?
We know that orthodontic treatment is a big investment, but we don’t want this to be the reason someone holds back from making a worthwhile decision to achieve a healthier and more confident smile for themselves, a child, or a loved one. We will work hard to make a payment plan that fits your budget! We accept assignments from most insurance plans. In many cases, your orthodontic benefit will reduce your out-of-pocket cost even further. We conveniently take care of all of this for you by submitting your claim directly from our office, so you don’t have to!