orthodontist calgary

Teen Braces: Are They Right For Your Teen?

Straightening Smiles With Braces For Teenagers

teenage girl smiling

All parents want their teens to have a perfect smile and functional bite that will last them a lifetime. What a beautiful gift to give your children. At Impact Orthodontics, we specialize in teen orthodontic treatment.

Modern orthodontics presents 2 great options for straightening teeth and fixing bites: braces and clear aligners.

Many parents that we see want to know if braces are better than clear aligners. They also want to know if one is faster than the other at fixing things like overbite, crowded teeth, spaced teeth and jaw alignment problems before they begin treatment.

A great place to start is to understand what is required of your teen with both systems.



Traditional Braces and/or Clear Teen Braces

LightForce braces, teen braces

The Disadvantages:

  • Good oral hygiene is key when getting braces. The hardest part of braces for teens is keeping them clean. It will take your teenager 4-5 minutes, 3-times a day to brush their braces. They also need to floss daily and this can take 15-20 minutes. Our goal is to prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Braces can break so there are food restrictions. No popcorn is allowed and they must be careful with hard, sticky and crunchy foods. The better the braces stay on your teen’s teeth the better.
  • Braces can and will break. Appointments will be more frequent and if something breaks and is uncomfortable, they may be urgent.



The Advantages:

  • Braces are glued to your teeth so you don’t have to remember to wear them and you can’t lose them. Many teens are forgetful and this can give them peace of mind.
  • Teeth appear straighter faster with braces because of the way they push on the teeth. Many adolescent patients are very concerned with the appearance of their front teeth.



Clear Aligners (Invisalign, Spark, Clarity, Angel) as an Alternative to Teen Braces

Angel Aligner clear braces

The Disadvantages:

  • Clear aligners are not attached to your teeth so they do not work at all if you don’t wear them. 22 hours a day is the ideal amount of time to wear your Invisalign or Angel aligners.
  • Plastic moves teeth differently than metal so it can take a little bit longer for the front teeth to be straight with clear aligners.



The Advantages:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth is the same with clear aligner treatment as it is without clear aligner treatment. Your teen needs to brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time. They also need to floss daily.
  • There are no food restrictions with clear aligners. The aligners are removed for eating so all foods are ok.
  • There are no emergency appointments with clear aligners because there is nothing that can break that would cause your teen pain. If an aligner is broken or lost, your teen simply goes to the next one. If a button or attachment breaks off, we will replace it at your convenience.
  • Certain types of teeth and bite problems are fixed faster with clear aligners than with braces due to the way they move the teeth.



What Types Of Teeth And Bite Problems Can We Fix With Teen Braces?




  • It is important that all permanent teeth are present when orthodontic treatment is being completed for overbite (upper teeth cover too much of the lower teeth vertically). This is because we need to use the growth spurt of puberty to help fix this type of bite. Elastics and other appliances are used with the metal braces or clear braces to get the bite into the best final position.





  • Overjet (often called overbite by non-dental people) is when the top teeth are too far in front of the bottom teeth. Puberty is also our friend in correcting this type of bite. In girls as young as 9 or 10 years old and boys as young as 11 years old, their biggest growth spurt begins. Teen patients will often hear us asking about how much they have grown in the last 6 months or year to help us determine the best time to fix this type of bite.

Crowded/Crooked Teeth

crowding, crowded teeth, crooked teeth

  • People most often think of traditional metal braces for correcting overcrowded teeth because they have been around forever…well over 100 years. Orthodontic treatment was initially created to fix crowding. Whether using metal brackets or Invisalign (Angel, Spark, Clarity aligners), this is the most common thing we fix.



Spaced Teeth

  • Treatment for spaced teeth is often about self esteem for your child. Most teens are not a fan of spaces between their teeth due to the appearance of it and the food traps that it causes. Braces are a great way to close gaps between the teeth efficiently.

Open Bite

open bite

  • An open bite is when your top and bottom teeth do not touch. This most often happens in the front of the mouth for teens but can be at the back. When you look at your child when they are biting their teeth together and they smile, if you can see their tongue, they likely have an open bite. Braces can fix mild open bites, but Invisalign or Angel aligners are best if the open bite is moderate to severe.



  • An underbite is when the upper teeth are behind the lower teeth and this usually happens when the top jaw is too small compared to the bottom. This often runs in families and can be identified as early as age 5. Treatment for this type of bite is complicated and will vary depending on the severity. Modern metal braces, modern clear braces and Invisalign or Angel aligners are good options.


  • Crossbites are when a tooth or group of teeth are biting on the wrong side of the opposing teeth. As an example, a top front tooth biting behind (instead of in front of) a bottom front tooth. Wearing braces is one way to correct a crossbite. There are also other forms of orthodontic treatment that can used if your teen has a crossbite.

Orthodontic treatment for teens can be done with traditional metal braces, or practically invisible aligners.

Seeing an orthodontist for teen braces(I’d stay away from a general dentist) for a free consultation is the first step.

Orthodontists are specialists in teen and child tooth and jaw movement.

The first appointment is generally a free consultation and the orthodontist will tell you all about what type of orthodontics your teen needs and how retainers will be used at the end to hold the result.

Teen braces may be the perfect fit for your child.

Teen braces are a rite of passage for many kids these days.

Book an appointment at Impact Orthodontics with Dr. Jen and Dr. Dena today.

No referral is needed and new patient exams are free for everyone under 20.

Learn more about Orthodontics from some of our other articles!

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