Braces for Teens Stage-by-Stage

Most teens wear their braces for 18 months. The orthodontist carefully plans out how treatment will progress during this year and a half and will adjust as necessary along the way. There are different stages of alignment though, and knowing what’s coming up and what has already been achieved can make the entire process of braces for teens go faster and feel like quite an accomplishment.

The First Few Months

The initial alignment stage is where orthodontic treatment with traditional braces for teens begins. Here is what to expect:

  • Brackets are bonded to each tooth, usually on both the top and bottom arches.
  • Constant but low pressure is applied along the archwire which is threaded through the brackets.
  • The tension and compression of the teeth and ligaments aligns the teeth quickly, sometimes showing visible results within three months.

It’s easy to think that treatment should be done at this point, especially if the teeth are noticeably straight and attractive. But the longest part of treatment comes next – when the teeth are fitted together.

The Middle Months

This is the longest segment of orthodontic treatment and can take about a year to complete, if not longer. The active phase – whether you have clear braces, metal braces, or Invisalign Teen – involves the changing and adjustment of archwire every six to eight weeks.

  • The bite is corrected so newly aligned teeth fit together properly and upper teeth sit just right over lower teeth.
  • The process of managing the bite involves moving the teeth front to back, side to side, and top to bottom to achieve the right curve of both arches of teeth and the proper angle on the roots.
  • Archwire is now stiffer and wider than he archwire used in the early months.
  • Elastics may be used between top and bottom teeth to reposition the jaw.

It may not feel like anything special or different happens between orthodontic checkups, but the miniscule movements of those archwires and the different weight and strengths of them make all the difference in how teeth shift. Your orthodontist is intimately familiar with the intricacies of moving all or just a few teeth to get the best results.

The End

When all the hardware is removed from the teeth, the retention phase begins – and that means retainers. This is a critical stage and one that lasts for a while to ensure that all the hard work of aligning the teeth and bite for the last 18 months was worth the time, effort, and expense.

Teeth don’t like to stay in their newly assigned positions, so retainers are critical to keep everything in place. Typically, retainers are worn around the clock right after braces are removed. Eventually, your orthodontist will give you permission to wear them less and then only at night. Some patients wear a removable appliance while others have a permanent retainer attached to the back of their teeth.

Get Braces for Teens in Woodinville

Many different forces impact how your teeth fit together and your alignment and adjustment are unique to your mouth. Conventional braces and Invisalign are powerful orthodontic treatments and deliver straight teeth and a healthy smile. If you think your teen needs braces, schedule a consultation with Dr. Soleil at Soleil Orthodontics in Woodinville, WA.

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