We usually start orthodontic treatment between the ages of 12 and 16. Typically, most permanent teeth have grown by this age, and it's easier to detect gaps, crowding, and issues with bite and alignment by this time. Bone and jaw structure has sufficiently formed to allow orthodontic treatment to begin.

It is also at this age that many children and teenagers begin developing an awareness of themselves, especially when it comes to their appearance and relationships.

For teenagers with gaps or misaligned teeth, this may produce feelings of insecurity and inferiority. They may also feel a sense of social anxiety when interacting with their peers.

Crooked, crowded teeth or a misaligned jaw can also impact your teenager's future oral and overall health, so there are substantial social and health benefits to orthodontic treatment for teenagers.

Straight teeth aren’t just aesthetically pleasing - they are less prone to wear and trauma, such as chipping or cracking. They are also easier to clean, so the risk of tooth decay or gum disease is reduced significantly. This also reduces the risk of losing teeth and bone structure in the future. Straight teeth and an aligned jaw are also vital components to a proper bite, which means that chewing food becomes more comfortable.

If you are unsure whether your teen needs orthodontic treatment, we recommend booking a consultation with Dr Petra van der Merwe. She has decades of experience in identifying orthodontic issues in growing teenagers and will be able to guide you through the treatment options for any prospective problems.

Alternative Orthodontic Treatment for Teens:

Braces are the most popular type of orthodontic practice. Braces are made up of a set of brackets that are meticulously measured and secured to the teeth and attached with wires designed to straighten and migrate the teeth. Dr Petra van der Merwe offers conventional metal braces, as well as ceramic, tooth-coloured brackets and wires that are designed to be more discreet.

Invisalign Teen® is an excellent option for teens who actively participate in sport or other social activities. They're made up of a set of custom aligner trays that can be removed at will. So your teenager can take the trays out for meals, social engagements or sporting activities and put them back on again. Your child's orthodontist will be happy to review all treatment options during the consultation process.

The trays are also transparent, so they're not easily noticeable and won't cause as much insecurity as conventional braces.