My teen doesn’t want braces – what are the alternatives?

If your teen has been told they need orthodontic treatment, they might be nervous about getting braces. While our research shows that 70% of Aussie kids are happy or excited when they find out they’ll need braces, it’s understandable that some may feel less than enthused at the prospect.

While metal braces are one of the most effective treatment options for young people, there are other treatments available. We take a look at the popular alternatives to traditional metal braces, including their appearance, how effective they are, and how easy they are to maintain.

Ceramic braces

If your teen feels particularly self-conscious about metal braces, ceramic or ‘clear’ braces might be a good option. They work just as well as metal braces, but the main difference is that they are less noticeable. Ceramic brackets can be clear or tooth-coloured and some wires can also be tooth-coloured.

The main thing to be aware of is that, given the materials used, they do cost a little more than traditional metal braces. Your child will also need to be careful when eating or drinking any colourful foods, which could cause staining to the braces.

Clear aligners

Clear aligners, more commonly known by brand names such as Invisalign®, can provide an alternative to fixed braces for less severe orthodontic problems. Removable and virtually invisible, they are a discreet alternative to braces. Invisalign TeenTM is a product which has specifically designed for teenagers.

However, it’s worth mentioning that Invisalign® and braces work in very different ways, and are also priced differently. Given the significant manufacturing costs associated with Invisalign®, it usually works out to be a more expensive option than regular braces.

If you and your orthodontist decide clear aligner treatment is right for your child, they will receive a series of aligners which they wear for one to two weeks each. Your child will need to commit to wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours each day, only removing them to eat and to clean them. If they’re not worn responsibly or often enough, the treatment won’t work.

Whether you’re considering traditional metal braces or an alternative such as Invisalign®, only a fully qualified orthodontist has the training, experience and expert knowledge to provide the best result. You can use our Find an orthodontist tool to find your nearest registered orthodontist.

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