Does My Teenager Need Braces?

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By the time they have all of their adult teeth, most teens experience misalignments affecting their teeth, jaw, bite and, of course, their smile.

For example, crowded teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss effectively, while gapped teeth leave spaces that are vulnerable to bacteria.

An overbite occurs when the upper teeth hang too far down over the bottom teeth, and an underbite develops when the upper teeth are too far back, causing the lower teeth to push forward. If their teeth do not align when they bite down, they may have a crossbite. And if the centres of their upper and lower front teeth aren’t aligned, they may have misplaced midlines.

All of these misalignments are known as malocclusions, and they can all be corrected with braces. Malocclusions can start very early on in life, although many cases do not require treatment until the children are 12 or 13 years old.

Treating Misalignment
If you think your teenager’s teeth may be misaligned, be sure to make an appointment with your dentist. They’ll examine your teenager’s teeth to determine if braces are the best option for correcting their unique misalignment.

Taking the Time
Straightening your teen’s smile doesn’t happen overnight! Braces can take anywhere from six months to three years or longer to fully fix misalignments. After the braces come off, it’s sometimes necessary for your teen to wear a retainer. This helps prevent the teeth from moving back into misalignment, and usually has to be worn at night or are permanently cemented to their teeth.