If you’re a teen who needs braces, you probably have a lot of questions:
How long will I wear braces?
What kind of braces can I get?
What will I look like with braces?
What am I allowed to eat?
You’re not alone! Nearly 70 percent of teenagers need braces to straighten their teeth and to improve their bite. Braces have come a long way since the 1970s and 1980s. That means that the materials used to make braces now are newer, lighter, stronger, and position your teeth more quickly than they did before. If your parents had braces, you’ve probably heard their stories—but today, braces are much more customized and are very comfortable to wear.
How Long Will I Wear Braces?
Your length of treatment will depend on several things:
What kinds of problems are being corrected. Depending on the position of your teeth, you could need as little as 12 months or as long as 24 months. What works for one teen will not work for another, but Dr. Gutiérrez will develop a treatment plan that will give you a beautiful smile while correcting your dental problems.
If you’ve had treatment in the past. Some teens have already undergone the first steps of “two-phase treatment” where the jaw is widened slightly and braces are used to ensure that adult teeth had room to grow in. The second part of the treatment is to wait while you grow and get all of your adult teeth in, and the third part is to finish up by getting braces again as a teenager, but usually not for more than about a year.
How you take care of your teeth and braces. We’ll give you instructions on how to take care of your braces. If you follow them, your treatment time should follow Dr. Gutiérrez’s plan, and you won’t need to wear braces for an additional amount of time. Remember that we’re here to answer any questions you may have about the care of your braces.
What Are My Options?
You have a lot of options! Some braces are clear and nearly invisible. Dr. Gutiérrez will talk to you and your parents about your choices, which include:
Traditional metal braces
What Can I Eat and Drink?
When you have braces, you must be careful about what you’re eating and drinking so that you don’t damage your braces, which will then need to repaired and replaced and may lengthen your treatment time. The good news is that there are many foods that you can have while wearing braces, including these:
soft cooked chicken
macaroni and cheese
These are foods that you should not eat because they can cause damage to your braces.
chunky peanut butter
sticky candy, like gummy bears and licorice
Foods that you bite into:
Potato chips, Doritos
corn on the cob
If you have a question about what you are allowed to eat, give Dr. Gutiérrez’s office a call. We know exactly what you should avoid, plus we can offer you some alternatives.