Ortho for Teens

Orthodontic Treatment for Teenagers

Orthodontic Patient with Braces

Most patients begin orthodontic treatment between ages 9 and 16, but this varies depending on each individual. Because teenagers are still growing, the teen years are often the optimal time to correct orthodontic problems and achieve excellent results.

Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding upper teeth, extra or missing teeth, and some jaw growth problems.

Other malocclusions (crooked teeth) are acquired. In other words, they develop over time. They can be caused by thumb-sucking or finger-sucking as a child, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth, accidents, poor nutrition, or some medical problems. 

Sometimes an inherited malocclusion is complicated by an acquired problem. But whatever the cause, the orthodontist is usually able to treat most conditions successfully.

Why Treat Orthodontic Problems? 

Treatment is important because crooked or crowded teeth are hard to clean, and that may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue, and possible jaw joint problems. Without treatment, problems may become worse. Orthodontic treatment to correct a problem may prove less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the problems that can develop in later years.

Then there’s the emotional side of an unattractive smile. When you are not confident in the way you look, your self-esteem suffers. Teenagers whose malocclusions are left untreated may go through life feeling self-conscious, hiding their smiles with tight lips or a protective hand. One of the orthodontic options we offer at Noelridge Dental is Invisalign.

Indicators Encourage Teens to Wear Aligners 

Invisalign aligners are completely removable, which allows for a great degree of convenience and flexibility. Patients can eat all their favorite foods, brush and floss as normal, and keep their teeth clean and healthy during orthodontic treatment. But this flexibility also means teens can easily choose not to wear their aligners, slowing down the effectiveness of treatment. Aligners should be worn for at least 20 hours each day.

To ensure teens wear their Invisalign aligners for the required amount of time, Invisalign Teen comes with built-in compliance indicators. These compliance indicators are small blue dots on the back of each aligner which fade to light blue and then to clear with extended exposure to saliva. The purpose of these indicators is to reassure parents (and teens) that the aligners are being worn for the appropriate amount of time.

The Daily Invisalign Experience for Cedar Rapids Patients

For the first few days of each stage of your Invisalign treatment, you may feel minor discomfort as your teeth get used to the added pressure, similar to what traditional braces patients experience after adjustments. This is perfectly normal and a sign that the aligners are doing their job. 

The difference is that with Invisalign, you may be tempted to take the aligners off to relieve the pressure. Resist that temptation, because it will delay your results! You should wear your aligners at all times during your treatment, except during meals and snacks and while brushing and flossing your teeth. Wearing them less often will make your treatment take longer.

Potential patients often ask if Invisalign will make it difficult to speak clearly. Most Invisalign patients experience very little difficulty with speaking clearly while wearing their aligners, but there will likely be an adjustment period as you get used to having them in your mouth.

Caring for Your Invisalign Trays

To clean your aligners, brush and rinse them in lukewarm water and use Invisalign Cleaning Crystals or special cleaning tablets. Make sure you’re also brushing and flossing after each meal before you re-insert your aligners.

One of the best advantages of Invisalign over traditional wire braces is that there is no banned foods list! As long as you are brushing and flossing before putting your aligners back in, you can enjoy all your favorite foods without compromising your orthodontic treatment!

Gum can stick to your aligners, so it’s not a good idea to chew it while they’re in. Take your aligners out for all meals and snacks. We also discourage smoking during Invisalign treatment, as it can stain and discolor the aligners, as well as put you at risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

Noelridge Dental Can Help

We offer modern approaches to teeth straightening for patients of all ages, including teens. We want to help determine which treatment option will work best for your situation. Make sure to check the map for directions before you head our way. 



©2006 American Association of Orthodontists