teen in braces
By age 11 or 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth should have erupted and be in place, and crooked, spaced, malaligned teeth and wear, clicking or shifting due to bad bites can easily be detected. A complimentary exam to your local orthodontist will evaluate all these individual problems and sometimes may reveal other surprises. Every now and then, although to the untrained eye everything seems normal, the patients and parents are surprised to learn from a panoramic x-ray that besides alignment issues and imperfect bites we are dealing with impacted permanent teeth, or overretained baby teeth with congenitally missing permanent teeth. These problems will hardly ever correct themselves, and simply waiting for a patient to grow out of a situation may be harmful by wasting precious time, complicating further treatment and escalating the cost.
Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age are for the most part compliant, they get used to all appliances quickly, and most importantly they can start treatment during their peak individual rapid growing spurt; orthodontists will take advantage of all of these factors to help correct the bite and align the teeth in a record amount of time.
Most of the adolescent patients nowadays in the U.S. are treated with fixed appliances such as full braces (metal or clear), sometimes along with other devices (such as expanders, headgears, fixed bite correctors and elastics), based on individual treatment needs and preference. Some appliances move the teeth while others (bite correctors such as Forsus, Herbst or MARA) move the jaws into alignment.
If the problems are very mild and the bite is reasonably good, additional treatment options can be explored for compliant patients, such as removable aligners (Invisalign, Clear Correct, Essix or Simpli5). Following completion of treatment, regardles of what tye of appliances were used to correct the problems, retainers will be needed indefinitely, or at least until cessation of growth and wisdom teeth removal.
And off they go to college with a beautiful, healthy smile!