Braces for Teens: Breaking Things Down

When most people think about traditional braces, they assume that it is a form of dental treatment reserved primarily for children. However, the reality of the situation is quite different since the types of issues that braces are perfect for correcting can develop at literally any age.

In fact, many people prefer to wait until they are in their teens so that their jaws continue to develop. Many adults choose to get braces for the same reason as well.

When you do decide to get braces as a teen, there are a few main types available for you to choose from. These include:

  • Traditional metal braces, which are the ones that most people are probably familiar with. A series of metal brackets are attached to the front side of each tooth and a wire is used to connect those brackets together. The strength of the wire is how the teeth gently move into their desired positions over time.
  • Ceramic braces, which operate nearly identically to metal braces in function but use a different type of material for the brackets. Because that ceramic material is white in color, these are also the far more discreet option.

How Do Braces Fit Into the Teen Lifestyle?

If you are the type of teen who likes to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, the good news is that you have nearly nothing to worry about in terms of braces impacting that goal in any appreciable way.

Having said that, there are certain things you will need to keep in mind to help avoid any unnecessary delays for your treatment:

  • If you are going to be playing sports, keep in mind that you WILL have to wear a mouthguard during play to protect both your braces and your teeth.
  • Dental hygiene is always important, but is especially important while wearing braces. Extra brushing AND flossing will be required.
  • In terms of dietary restrictions, there are definitely a few key types of foods that you would do well to avoid. These include ones like popcorn (because the kernels can get caught in between the wire and brackets), any hard or sticky candies, any chewy foods like soft pretzels or pizza crusts, and any foods that you need to bite into (think: apples).  Just remember those dietary restrictions only last for a short time (when your braces are removed).

How Do You Care For Your Braces?

Despite what you may have heard, caring for your braces is not that difficult. In fact, many of the best practices that you use to care for your teeth apply in this context too. Having said that, there are once again a few things you will want to keep in mind to avoid any unnecessary delays to your treatment.

First and foremost, you will need to brush and floss not only in between the brackets, but in between the wires as well. This helps to avoid the buildup of plaque and prevents the development of cavities.

You will also need to get comfortable with the idea that regular visits to the orthodontist will be necessary for the duration of your treatment. Periodic adjustments to the wire will be needed, and he or she will obviously need to check in on you to make sure that your treatment is proceeding exactly as it should be.

Generally speaking, most teens wear braces for approximately one to two years. Although this number could vary depending on not only the specific type of issues you are trying to correct, but the severity of that issue as well.