Did you know that between 25% and 50% of kids require orthodontic work? It’s true! Orthodontics is a time-tested and effective method for correcting common dental issues like misaligned or crowded teeth, ensuring that your child enjoys a lifetime of good oral health.
If your child’s dentist has recently recommended orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering which type of treatment is right for them. To help you out with this decision, we’ve put together a list of the top four orthodontic solutions for teenagers.
Standard Metal Braces
This type of orthodontic treatment is typically the first thing people picture when they hear the word “braces”. While many parents may imagine the clunky metal brackets and wires from their youth, modern braces have come a long way since then. Today’s metal braces are more minimal, requiring less hardware, smaller brackets, and wires so small, they’re almost unnoticeable at first glance.
Due to their time-tested effectiveness, metal braces remain the industry standard for orthodontic treatment, especially for cases requiring extensive treatment to correct teeth alignment.
However, this isn’t to say that standard metal braces don’t have drawbacks. Unlike other orthodontic treatments on this list, metal braces are far from invisible. The metal brackets often cause some irritation against the lips at first, and regular trips to the orthodontist for readjustments can become exhausting.
Clear aligners are an ideal orthodontic solution for patients who want straighter teeth without all the hardware. Clear aligner services like Invisalign and Smile Direct Club are quickly becoming the most popular choices for straightening teeth, and it’s not hard to see why. Like braces, clear aligners work by shifting teeth into place over time. Unlike braces, these aligners are practically invisible to the casual viewer and can be removed during meals or for pictures. The ability to remove clear aligners also makes brushing and flossing much easier.
Another advantage of clean aligner is that the majority of the treatment can be completed at home, without having to visit the orthodontist every six to eight weeks. This saves time and cuts down on the expense of the treatment.
While clear aligners are commonly thought of as superior to braces, there are instances where braces remain the better orthodontic treatment option. Clear aligners lack the capacity for manipulation and strength to tackle more complex orthodontic issues. In instances of severe crowding or misalignment, your doctor may recommend braces as the only viable treatment option.
Lingual braces are almost the same as conventional braces, with one major difference: they are applied to the back of the teeth instead of the front. This allows for the control and strength of traditional braces with a low-profile appearance similar to that of clear aligners. However, this unique type of orthodontic treatment does come with a distinct set of drawbacks.
Because lingual braces are affixed to the back of the teeth, they can interfere with tongue placement, affecting speech and potentially resulting in a lisp. Over time, the wearer will adjust to speaking with lingual braces, but they may find this process more annoying than it’s worth. Lingual braces also cost more and take longer to correct teeth than traditional braces.
A palatal expander is an orthodontic instrument used as part of a therapeutic treatment method to expand a person’s upper palate. This expansion helps prevent issues like crowding and misaligned bites before they have the chance to develop. As a result, the need for further orthodontic treatment is either greatly reduced or eliminated altogether. Palatal expanders can also help to eliminate mouth breathing, a common cause of sleep apnea.
While adults will benefit from palatal expanders, this orthodontic treatment works best for children and teens, as their oral condition is still developing and can be more effectively altered.