Smile David Ross Orthodontics in Hanover, PA and Lutherville-Timonium, MD

Adolescent Treatment

When To Get Braces?

Between the ages of 11 and 15 is the prime window for orthodontic treatment, and it’s not by chance. By age 12, most, if not all, permanent teeth have erupted, making issues like crooked teeth, gaps, and bad bites easily identifiable. These problems rarely self-correct, prompting many parents to pursue orthodontic care during this period.

Moreover, children in this age range typically have high metabolisms, which can contribute to shorter treatment times and lessen the discomfort associated with orthodontic procedures. This makes it an ideal time to address orthodontic concerns and achieve optimal dental health.

Beyond outward appearances, untreated dental problems can have a lasting impact on your teen’s oral and overall health. If you notice any of the following issues, we recommend a complimentary consultation with Dr. Ross at David Ross Orthodontics, since they could be signs your teen may benefit from orthodontic treatment.

  • Early, late, or irregular loss of their baby teeth
  • Difficulty with chewing or biting
  • Crowding or extra spacing between teeth
  • Jaws that shift or make sounds
  • Frequent biting of the cheek or the inside of the mouth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
  • Protrusion of teeth

Diagnosing and successfully treating certain bite problems can have short-term and long-term benefits. Problems classified as “bad bites” can often be minimized with the proper orthodontic treatment, including:

  • Crooked or crowded teeth
  • Missing or extra teeth
  • An overbite or underbite
  • Incorrect jaw position
  • A disorder of the jaw joint

There are a lot of benefits to having straight teeth, including:

  • Being less prone to wear and tear, chipping, and tooth trauma
  • Being easier to keep clean, helping to prevent tooth decay and cavities
  • Reducing the chances of developing gum disease, which can result in bone loss, decay, and tooth loss
  • Improving proper chewing and digestion of food

While creating a customized treatment plan for your teen, we might recommend an orthodontic appliance. Here at David Ross Orthodontics, we offer:


Braces have come a very long way, even within the past decade. When many people think of braces they think of extremely bulky metal brackets.

We don’t use this type of bulky orthodontic appliance and many of the new braces are lighter and more comfortable than ever before.


Also known as clear braces, these work the same way metal braces do but feature brackets made of tooth-colored ceramic materials. They blend in with your teen’s 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 best for everyone.


Damon braces are very similar to traditional metal braces, but rather than ties, they utilize a sliding-door technology that’s commonly known as self-ligation.

This allows the wire of your braces to slide back and forth within the bracket to provide less friction, greater comfort, and the same effective treatment.

Damon braces can also reduce treatment time, and require fewer adjustments than traditional braces.


The Invisalign system is made up of a series of fully customized, clear trays called aligners. These aligners are nearly invisible and totally removable.

Made of soft plastic, they provide a more comfortable orthodontic experience, with no friction or abrasions inside your teen’s mouth.

Each week your teen will switch their aligner 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 for mild to moderate orthodontic issues, and may not be an option if your teen needs more serious treatment.



This is a question with no concrete answer, unfortunately. Every case is different, but the average length of the active stage of orthodontic treatment is anywhere from 6-36 months.

After this phase of treatment is complete, your teen will need to wear a retainer for as long as Dr. Ross feels is necessary based on their individual case. We work as a team with both parents and teen to create a smile that will last a lifetime.

Absolutely. If your teen athlete is wearing traditional braces, it’s crucial to protect their smile in order to stay on track with their treatment.

We strongly recommend that they use an orthodontic mouthguard to protect their braces, and their mouth, from any potential injury. Your teen can play any contact sport if they use the proper orthodontic mouthguard.

If your teen has Invisalign, they can simply take their aligner out before practice or a game, and put it back in afterward.

Traditional metal braces might affect the way your teen plays some instruments. Invisalign is an excellent alternative treatment because removing their aligner before playing gives them no limitations.


Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your child’s future. Dr. Ross will be happy to discuss the benefits of treatment with both of you, as well as any of the risks with putting off or skipping treatment.

Although adults can successfully complete orthodontic treatment, a teen’s jaws and teeth respond quicker to orthodontic treatment, shortening their total treatment time.

Schedule your free consultation today.