Adolescent Treatment

At the office of Dr. Roy Gonzalez, Jr., our team has helped patients in the San Antonio area for generations. While we treat patients of all ages, the most common time for our patients to receive braces or Invisalign is during adolescence. If you are a parent that is wondering whether you should have your teen start orthodontic treatment, here are things to consider.

Why Teens Get Braces

As it turns out, there's a good reason that adolescence is such a common age for braces, as it helps make treatment more effective and convenient for our patients.

  • Permanent Teeth: For starters, by adolescence, the permanent teeth have either grown incompletely or are almost finished growing in. This means adolescence is the first time in a patient's life where we can make changes directly to all the adult teeth.
  • Metabolism: Because they're growing so fast, teens also tend to have higher metabolisms. We can take advantage of the growth spurts of teenagers to speed up orthodontic treatment, helping our patients achieve a new smile while spending less time in braces.
  • It's Common: Because braces are so common for teens, most teenagers aren't opposed to wearing them – in fact, some patients even tell us they want braces just to fit in with their friends! This added social element can ease teens' anxiety around braces, helping make the treatment process more pleasant overall.

The Process of Orthodontic Treatment

The treatment process is different for everyone, and the specifics of the process will be unique for every patient. That said, there's a common structure that most patients will follow for their treatment.

The first step is your initial consultation. During this appointment, we'll take detailed measurements, pictures, and x-rays of your mouth and bite, and we'll likely also make impressions (a physical model of your bite) to aid in our diagnosis. Finally, Dr. Gonzalez will perform a detailed evaluation of your mouth and orthodontic condition.

Based on the measurements and exam, we'll form a diagnosis and go over potential treatment options for you. We offer a variety of treatments at our office, including:

  • Metal Braces: These are what you likely picture when you think of the word "braces." Made from high-grade stainless steel, modern metal braces are thinner, lighter, and more comfortable than in past years, making for an effective, convenient, and affordable form of orthodontic treatment.
  • Clear Braces: Clear braces work similarly to metal braces, with one key difference – instead of metal, the brackets are made from a clear ceramic composite material that blends in with teeth. This makes them a more discreet and aesthetically pleasing form of orthodontic treatment, but it also makes them slightly more expensive and more fragile.
  • Invisalign: For a different form of treatment altogether, we offer Invisalign clear aligners. Invisalign does away with brackets and wires entirely, instead of using a series of clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. The aligners are virtually invisible when worn and can be taken out to eat, drink, brush, and floss, which means you won't have to worry about braces in school pictures, you can still eat your favorite foods, and maintaining oral hygiene is easy.

Outside of these primary forms of treatment, we may also recommend additional appliances if we need to make significant changes to the teeth or jaws. These appliances may be as significant as external headgear, or they may simply be small devices that fit inside the mouth. In all cases, the device is temporary but will provide a long-term benefit in a short time.

How Long Do Braces Take?

The truth is, there's no one answer to this question – every patient's needs are different, and orthodontic treatment will look different for each patient. That said, most patients are actively wearing orthodontic appliances for somewhere between 6 and 30 months. After the active phase of treatment, we will monitor your growth and development while you wear your retainer. After that, your new smile is yours to keep!

Contact Our Office With Any Questions

If you or your child are interested in learning more about how orthodontic treatment can improve your smile, our team would love to help. We've helped countless patients throughout the San Antonio area achieve a healthy smile over the years, and we are excited to do the same for you. Call us at 210-344-9295 or if you'd like to schedule an appointment, you can do so using our easy online form. We look forward to meeting you and your teen!