Braces for Teens

One of the most important things to understand about the mouth of a teen is that it is, for all intents and purposes, constantly developing. That is to say, just because a child isn’t born with any particular issues like crowded teeth or an overbite doesn’t mean those problems won’t develop later on.

For years, traditional braces have been seen as a viable way to not only help teens get the smile they’ve always seen for themselves but to also proactively address certain issues that may develop later on in life. The reasoning is that if you correct specific small problems now while a teen is still young, and if they continue to wear their retainer and stick to any other advice given to them by their dental professional, their oral health will be much stronger in the long run because of it.

Likewise, correcting dental issues early on can help avoid a wide range of different health-related issues that are directly impacted by your teeth and oral health. Heart disease, for example, has long been linked to dental issues and that is obviously something that anyone should take steps to avoid at all costs.

Having said all of that, even though most people are familiar with traditional braces, it’s still possible to have some questions. Below are the answers to some of the most common ones, all of which can help you make better and more informed choices moving forward.

How Long Will I Wear Braces?

This is the most common question that most teens have ahead of treatment with traditional braces, but the answer is a resounding… “it depends.”

Obviously, certain types of issues take longer to correct than others. If you’re only trying to use traditional braces for the cosmetic benefits and to remove gaps in certain teeth, treatment will obviously be much faster than if you were also dealing with certain bite problems.

Generally speaking, most people can expect to wear braces for about two years on average. Your dental professional will be able to give you a better idea once they know more information about exactly what is going on in your teen’s mouth.

What Foods Will I Have to Avoid When Getting Braces?

While getting traditional braces won’t necessarily change your diet dramatically, there are certainly some types of foods that you’re going to want to avoid for the duration of your treatment.

Overall, try to avoid any foods that are particularly hard – with certain types of candy and hard pretzels being prime examples. Anything that is very chewy like pizza crust would also be on the list of things to avoid. Finally, you’ll want to remove anything that is particularly sticky from your diet – again, many types of candies would be prime examples of this – to avoid damaging the brackets or the wires that make up your traditional braces.

How Do I Care for My Teeth While Wearing Braces?

Caring for your teeth while wearing braces isn’t that different from caring for your teeth under regular circumstances. You’re still going to want to brush and floss your teeth after every meal, to make sure anything substances that could cause stains or even cavities are removed as soon as possible.

The only real difference is that you’re also going to want to make sure that nothing gets stuck in or around the brackets and wires that make up the braces themselves. Again, this could easily lead to damage to the traditional braces system – which could unfortunately delay treatment or cause other types of problems.

In terms of caring for the braces, know that you’ll need to make regular appointments with your orthodontist so that they can check in on your progress and make sure everything is proceeding along as it should be. These appointments won’t necessarily be time-consuming, so don’t worry about that – but they are essential for making sure that you’re overwhelmingly happy with the results once treatment is complete.

How Do I Protect My Mouth When Playing Sports With Braces?

Many teens in particular are concerned with whether or not they will be able to continue to play sports while going through treatment. The good news is that they absolutely can – they’re just going to want to be careful while they do it.

Accidents do happen, so if you have the opportunity to avoid full-contact sports while wearing braces, it’s one that you should take. If you’re unable to do so, be sure to always wear a mouthguard while in play to not only protect the braces but your teeth as well. Of course, this is really something that you should have already been doing anyway and you’re absolutely going to want to continue to do so even after your treatment is finished.

It can be something of an inconvenience, sure – but remember that you’re trying to avoid damaging the braces or causing some type of setback that could delay your treatment’s completion date much farther than you’d like. What is worse – being extra careful while playing sports, or getting halfway through your treatment and having to start all over again?

Obviously, the former is preferred – which is why this is one particularly important topic that you’ll want to follow at all costs.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Again, this question is going to be difficult to answer because it essentially varies on a patient-by-patient basis. The specific issues you’re trying to correct impact the length of time treatment will go on for, and longer treatments almost always work out to be more expensive as well.

As a rule of thumb, most people pay a few thousand dollars for braces – although this will also be impacted by the area of the country you live in, among other things. Don’t worry – Dr. VanLue and his team will go over all of this with you during your initial consultation so that you know exactly how much you can expect to pay BEFORE your treatment begins.