Braces are a common and almost expected part of puberty. Crooked, crowded or misaligned teeth can make adolescents feel insecure and embarrassed, but then braces may also highlight teen's insecurity. "This age group defines themselves mostly by their physical appearance, and having crooked teeth can make kids extremely self-conscious" – says Dr Inah Mundy.
Since we all want our children to have a healthy, confident smile as they enter adulthood, this is one hurdle which many parents have encouraged our kids to jump.
The starting point is to get your teenager to focus attention on the long term benefits of straight teeth. "Teens are most concerned with the here and now, and they do not fully comprehend that their crooked or misaligned teeth could affect them as young adults – when they start dating or when they go for their first job" says Dr Mundy. To teens, long-term benefits may not seem to outweigh the short-term costs to self-image and everyday inconveniences that orthodontic work might bring. Encourage your child to see beyond the cosmetic benefits. For example, it is much easier to keep your teeth clean when they are straight, and correcting dental alignment can reduce tension headaches and other symptoms."
Kids who need orthodontics shouldn't fear the dreaded "metal-mouth" appearance – it's a thing of the past, says Dr Mundy. Today there are all sorts of alternatives open to your teenager, many of which are hardly visible. You can even get 'invisible' braces (Invisalign) which are plastic inserts that fit over your teenager's teeth. Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners that are custom made and worn for 2 weeks at a time. The aligners put pressure on the malpositioned teeth and move them gradually into their correct position.
"In most patients, it is best to treat before and during puberty during an active growth phase. Treatment is often easier and more predictable," says Dr Mundy.
The most important things to remember if your teen is feeling frustrated about having orthodontic treatment - there are millions of other people experiencing the same thing. And that no matter what, eventually — and your teen will be left with a wonderful, straight smile.
At Bays Dental, our initial orthodontic consultations are complimentary - where we discuss the problems at hand, different options available including removable plates, metal/ceramic braces, Invisalign, but also In-house interest free payment plans. Feel free to contact us to organise a time that best suits you and your family.