No teen ever wants to hear the words, "You may need braces."
Adding dental braces to the emotional and physical rollercoaster of adolescence may seem like a death sentence to many teens. At a time when image seems so important, the thought of having metal brackets and wires constantly attached to teeth may outweigh the ultimate benefit of a straight and beautiful smile. Dental braces also have a reputation for causing discomfort and affecting speech.
Before your teen plans to swear off smiling for a few years, let them know that there are dental braces options to help ease their concerns.
No More Metal Mouth
The Invisalign system can give your teen's teeth the same results as standard dental braces while eliminating some of their traditionally frustrating aspects. A patient wears a series of custom-fit, clear aligners, changing them every few weeks to shift teeth into their desired position.
Few people will notice that your teen is wearing the aligners and they can be removed as necessary for eating, brushing and activities such as sports or playing musical instruments. Patients that choose Invisalign also need fewer checkups than those with traditional dental braces. Like dental braces, however, aligners may cause a lisp for their first few days of use, which will go away once your teen gets used to wearing them.
Lingual braces are another discreet way to straighten teeth. Brackets are attached to the backs of teeth so no one will know your teen is wearing them unless they tell them! Lingual dental braces can be worn by almost anyone and are especially useful for teens who play contact sports or play wind instruments.
Make A Statement
Many teens today are also starting to view dental braces as a fun way to make a fashion statement. Brackets now come in the standard silver as well as clear, tooth-colored and even gold.
Wires and bands come in an almost infinite number of shades from metallic purple to neon pink. Since these can be changed every time your teen visits their orthodontist, they can get a new look for every holiday, season and trend that catches their eye.
Simplify the Transition
No matter what options you choose, your teen may still have trouble getting used to their new oral "accessories." Try to be sensitive and talk to them if they seem stressed. Ask your dentist or orthodontist what you can do if your teen complains of tooth or gum pain, and keep soft foods in the house so that they will have something to eat after appointments if their teeth are sore.
It is important that your children have regular dental visits to make sure their teeth are healthy and to prevent future oral health problems. Your dentist or orthodontist can advise you on how to best care for your child's teeth and may suggest treatments such as dental braces or orthodontic retainers as necessary.