As a parent, you might have many concerns about your teen's growth and development, including their dental health. If your teen has a bad bite and refuses to wear braces because of personal and social reasons, you might feel as though you've failed them in some way. You haven't. Although orthodontic treatments can improve your teen's bad bite, they might not feel comfortable about wearing them. You can help your teen overcome their bad bite and personal and social limitations with the right information.
Educate Your Teen About Orthodontic Treatment
One of the biggest things you can do for your teen is educate them about orthodontic care. If your loved one is like many other teens, and even adults, they have a preconceived idea about how braces might look on them when they wear them. Your teen may even worry about how their peers in school may potentially see them if they wore braces, especially if your loved one experienced bullying at some point.
Teens who want to fit in with other students may fear wearing orthodontic appliances. But what your teen might not understand is that if they choose to skip orthodontic care now, it may impact their life later. Bad bites can potentially cause tooth decay, gum disease, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJD. All of these issues can impact your teen's dental health when they're older. In some cases, bad bites can trigger tooth loss because it may be difficult to clean crowded, "bucked," or misaligned teeth properly.
In addition to stigmas and bullying, your teen might think that it'll take years to straighten out their teeth. In actuality, it takes one to two years to improve the position of bad teeth. Some orthodontic appliances work even faster.
Choose Braces That Fit Your Teen's Lifestyle
If you haven't scheduled an appointment with an orthodontist yet, do so now. An orthodontist can introduce your teen to different types of braces and explain the benefits of wearing each appliance to them. In many cases, your loved one can help a dentist select braces in colors and styles that fit their personal tastes the best. The option to choose may help ease your teen's misconceptions and fears about wearing orthodontic appliances, especially metal braces.
In the past, metal braces were thicker and more visible in the mouth when people smiled. However, orthodontists now offer metal braces that feature clear or almost clear wires and brackets. The fixtures fit comfortably over and around each tooth, which reduces soreness and visibility in the mouth.
In addition, a number of orthodontic specialists offer rubber bands in different colors. The colors range from blue to black and may feature unique designs that work well for teen boys and girls. If your teen plays football or participates in cheerleading, they may choose to design their braces with their school logo or mascot. Be sure to discuss this option with an orthodontist during your visit.
If your teen is adamant about not wearing metal braces, even with the options above, they can select clear aligners for their needs. Clear aligners are similar to traditional braces but don't use wires or brackets to move teeth. Your teen typically slips or slides the almost invisible appliances on their upper and lower teeth, which may make it easier to brush and floss their teeth. The best thing about clear aligners is that you can't see them easily when you smile.
Your teen will also need to wear different aligners throughout their treatment to accommodate the changes in their bite. Clear braces also take less time to correct misaligned teeth than metal braces. An orthodontic dentist can discuss the expectations for wearing clear aligners when they examine your teen's teeth.
If you want to learn how you can help your teen overcome their bad bite with braces, contact an orthodontist at a location such as Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics today.