Orthodontics for Teens

If you have a teen who recently learned braces can improve their smile, you probably have lots of questions. You may be feeling nervous or worried when you think about beginning the process.

But there’s no need to worry – bulky, uncomfortable metal braces are a thing of the past. Today’s braces are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before. They also come in a variety of styles, materials and colors.

Teen Orthodontics at Rhoads Orthodontic Specialist

One of the biggest questions on your teen’s mind before having braces put on is often “how long will I have to wear these?” Although there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that, we can estimate the amount of time it will take to treat their smile with braces based on a few key factors.

Early treatment — Since early treatment allows us to monitor the growth of your teen’s jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment if necessary, we’re often able to catch problems in the beginning stages. This can cut down on the total time your teen will need to wear braces.

What areas need correction — The amount of treatment your teen will need to correct a problem will determine how long the process itself takes. It’s important to remember that different patients react to treatment in different ways.

What takes one patient only 12 months may take another patient 24 or 36 months. Treatment times will also vary depending on how quickly your teen’s body responds, and how much actual work is needed to give them their very best smile.

Your teen — Your teen’s willingness to “play by the rules” plays a major role in the length of time it will take to complete their treatment. By sticking to Dr. Rhoads' recommendations, taking care of their braces, and maintaining a healthy dental hygiene routine, they can keep their treatment time to a minimum.

Dr. Rhoads with a patient

Treatment Options

In the course of developing a customized treatment plan for your teen, we may recommend the use of an orthodontic appliance for a while. Here at Rhoads Orthodontic Specialist, we offer:

Metal Braces

The most popular and well-known orthodontic appliance, traditional metal braces hardly need an introduction! It may surprise you to learn, however, that the braces of today are far smaller and sleeker than their past incarnations. They’re lighter, more comfortable, and also easily customized by choosing from many colors of elastic ties on the brackets.

Ceramic Braces

Also known as clear braces, these work the same way metal braces do, but feature brackets made of tooth-colored ceramic materials which blend in with your teen’s own smile, making them much less obvious. Since ceramic braces are slightly more prone to breakage, and a little costlier than metal braces, they may not be suitable for everyone.


The Invisalign system is made up of a series of fully customized, clear trays called aligners that are nearly invisible and completely removable. Made of soft plastic, they provide a more comfortable orthodontic experience, with no friction or abrasions inside the mouth. Each aligner is changed out weekly for the next in the set. When worn the recommended 20-22 hours per day, your teen’s teeth will gradually move into the desired positions. Invisalign works best with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, and may not be an option if your teen requires more serious treatment.


Can teens still play sports when undergoing orthodontic treatment?

Absolutely! If your teen athlete is wearing more traditional braces, it will be essential to protect their smile in order to keep on track with treatment. We strongly recommend that they use an orthodontic mouthguard to protect their braces, and their mouth, from any potential injury. With the use of a proper orthodontic mouthguard, any contact sport can be played with braces.

Because Invisalign aligners are removable, teens using this system can simply take their aligner out before practice or a game, and put it back in afterward.


What about musicians?

Traditional metal braces can potentially affect the way your teen plays some instruments. Invisalign is an excellent alternative treatment, as removing the aligner before playing allows complete freedom for your teen’s music-making abilities!

Invest in Your Teen

Orthodontic treatment is truly an investment in your child’s future. By scheduling a free consultation, Dr. Rhoads will be happy to discuss the benefits of treatment with both of you, as well as any of the potential risks associated with delaying or foregoing treatment.

Although adults can, and do, successfully complete orthodontic treatment, the jaws and teeth of teenagers often respond more quickly to orthodontic treatment, shortening their total treatment time.