Middle school is the prime time for orthodontic work; the baby teeth are out, the adult teeth are freshly grown in, and your teens are starting to value their oral health and the overall cosmetic appearance of their smile. By this age, it’s clear that misalignment, bad bites, or even speech problems caused by permanent teeth crowding, crookedness, or gapped teeth isn’t going to correct itself. But as a parent, how do you know when it’s the right time for braces? Your middle school kid may be ready for braces. However, it may be better to get started with Invisalign this summer before school is in full swing!
What age is appropriate for children to get braces?
At South Charlotte Dentistry, we typically recommend braces for adolescent patients aged 12 to 18 years. Braces can be effective at any age after the adult teeth have grown in, but are most effective for young adults whose teeth have just come in and are still malleable.
The Mayo Clinic estimates that most children are ready for braces between the ages of 11-14 years old, or as we identify them in the U.S. – the middle school years. A younger teen’s facial and jaw structure still have growth potential too that can be shaped with orthodontic work
Middle school age children are great candidates for braces for three reasons:
1. Young teens can expect faster results than older patients since their teeth and bones are still growing and less dense.
2. Getting braces at this age provides a better chance of the teeth staying in their new positions for a lifetime.
3. Middle school kids have faster metabolisms, helping them with their orthodontic treatment to improve patient comfort and facilitate better tooth movement.
At South Charlotte Dentistry, we typically recommend braces for adolescent patients aged 12 to 18 years. If you have a child in middle school that needs orthodontic correction, we’re here to help!
Emotional readiness for orthodontic work and Invisalign
Middle school is a time where many kids are familiar with seeing their peers with metal smiles, rubber bands, and retainers! But some children may be apprehensive about orthodontic treatment – that’s where talking to your team at South Charlotte Dentistry comes in.
We ensure that your adolescent child understands their options and can help provide a recommendation based on the severity of their condition. We can also help explain how modern braces are not as uncomfortable as they were in the past, the timeline for their treatment, and that there are a number of styles and colors to choose from. Overall, it’s important to help your teen understand that wearing braces for a few months to a year is a small sacrifice to make towards a lifetime of enjoying a confident and beautiful smile.
For children that only need minor or moderate smile adjustments, or may have an uneasiness about metal brackets, South Charlotte Dentistry offers Invisalign Teen, an advanced clear braces system. Unlike metal brackets and wires, Invisalign aligners are comfortable, clear aligners that fit snugly around the teeth, and are easy and convenient to take off! Invisalign won’t interrupt your teen’s life; if they want to eat popcorn (a classic no-go snack for metal braces) or are playing contact sports, all they have to do is pop out their Invisalign and replace it as soon as they’re done with their activity.
What does the Invisalign Teen treatment look like?
To start, your team at South Charlotte Dentistry will take a digital scan of your teeth and gums with the iTero scanner, which is entirely digital and creates a 3D model of your mouth. Note – no gagging on goopy molds for over a minute! Using Invisalign technology, your dentist will then map out your exact tooth movements on a computerized model, and create aligners according to those specifications. We can show you exactly what your smile will look like before you even start your treatment!
The Invisalign Teen braces can also apply SmartForce Attachments that are small, tooth-colored, and hardly noticeable to serve almost as metal brackets would. The SmartForce attachments go on the teeth before or during your Invisalign treatment and provide the aligners something gentle to push your teeth in the right direction.
Invisalign can also correct overbites in tweens with precision wing technology as they straighten teeth. The precision wings gradually move the lower jaw, improving the bite and the overall appearance of the chin.
Speaking of treatment time, Invisalign can provide teens with results in as little as 6 months, and still make complex tooth movements possible without metal braces. The aligners come in a series, meaning you won’t need monthly appointments to adjust wires and brackets; you’ll just move on to the next set of aligners at home according to your treatment plan. You’ll come in for a few check-ups, but the appointments are fast, painless, and easy. Best of all, there’s no hardware that can get broken or damaged, so parents don’t have to worry about additional repair time or emergency appointments!
Consult with South Charlotte Dentistry to determine if your child is a candidate for Invisalign braces.
Whether your teen is a budding wind instrument musician, passionate about sports, or just intimidated by the thought of metal braces in middle school (listen, we get it!), Invisalign Teen may be a great treatment option for them. Book a consultation with your team today!