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Is Your Teen’s Smile a Cause for Bullying?

22 September 2021

Categories: Aesthetics
Teenage Teeth Bullying

You’ve probably experienced it first-hand or witnessed someone being called names such as ‘Buck teeth’ or ‘Gap teeth’. Teasing or name-calling may seem like a joke to some but this act of bullying can damage a teenager’s self-esteem.

Having ‘ugly teeth’ is a problem of bullying, according to a study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics, which found that teeth were the main targeted physical feature to increase a child’s chance of being bullied.

Closer to home, teenagers in Singapore too can relate to being teased and bullied for having misaligned teeth.

For some time now, orthodontists have been aware of the relationship between unattractive teeth and low self-esteem. Not only for kids, but patients of all ages. A smile and one’s teeth are the features people first notice when you walk into a room. A confident smile is also important to communicate and develop relationships as teenagers mature.

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment for your teen, we’ve laid down everything you need to know here.

 

Misaligned teeth: A possible cause for bullying and more

Bullying is not the only worry when malocclusion is concerned. Misaligned teeth can also be the reason for:

  • Affected speech and pronunciation
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Teeth damage due to the buildup of plaque
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Periodontal diseases
  • Affected breathing pattern
  • Painful jaw due to a poor bite

In other words, misaligned teeth should not be taken lightly. It does not only affect your child’s teenage years, its impact extents to your child’s health and development too.

Turn a frown into a smile

Every parent wants only the best for their child and that includes seeing them make the best out of their teenage years. Here are some ways to help your teen smile confidently and happily.

1. Schedule regular dental visits

Malocclusion is a highly prevalent condition that affects 1 out of 2 children globally. There is no way of controlling how your teen’s teeth grow but you can take charge of the situation by ensuring that your teen gets his or her teeth checked regularly by a dentist. It is recommended for children to have their first orthodontic assessment done by the age of 7. This allows the dentist to identify early signs of teeth misalignment and guide the optimal growth of your child’s teeth and dental arch.

While age is not a limit for orthodontic treatments, there are advantages and disadvantages worth weighing if you are considering getting them beyond your teens.

2. Help your teenager understand

Help your teenager understand that their smile will change as they grow.

For instance, not all baby teeth are lost until the early teenage years and if your teen’s permanent teeth (or also known as secondary teeth) have grown but are misaligned, assure your teen that it is possible to have their bite corrected. As your teen goes through this stage of life, their peers could sometimes take the opportunity to tease.

You should also place an emphasis that they are not alone because everyone goes through this, including their friends and celebrities too.

3. Find photos of celebrities

This leads us to our next point, a fun way to help your teen understand the situation better.

When your teen sees that others too have gone through the same situation, it could help them relate and feel better about it. Celebrities are often figures that children look up to. So, what better way than to show them that their favourite celebrity too had misaligned teeth.

A quick search on the Internet will give you a long list of celebrities and prominent world figures whom have had their teeth corrected. To help you out, here are a few of them – Actors and singers, Tom Cruise, Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus as well as Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.

 

Orthodontic treatment for teens

Ultimately, orthodontic treatment is the most effective way to correct malocclusion among teenagers. Orthodontic treatment work by using a dental tool to apply gradual pressure around the teeth with the aim of aligning them to their ideal position.

These days, you’ve the option of braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign. The question is, which would be best for your teenager?

There is no wrong answer because it all depends on your teenager’s preference and teeth condition.

Braces

Braces involve brackets that are attached to the front of your teeth and coloured bands that surround each tooth. It’s typically made out of metal but a ceramic option is available too. The bands on the other hand are rubber or metal ties.

Braces is a traditional orthodontic treatment method but is used until today. They are highly visible but there also some advantages to this treatment option.

  • Highlights
    • Suitable for teenagers with severe malocclusion.
    • A more affordable option.
    • 100 percent compliance rate, with minimal interruption to the treatment plan
    • Braces do not get lost or contaminated.
    • May experience pain, soreness, and discomfort caused by wires and brackets and pressure applied to teeth
  • Requirements
    • During treatment, you’ll be required to refrain from certain foods such as those that are hard, crunchy and sticky.
    • Regular visits to the orthodontist are required, to have the metal wires adjusted.
    • Braces are not removable and will be highly visible. It’s important your teen understands this.
    • If your teen plays contact sports, do ensure that they protect their mouth and teeth as there is a higher risk of oral injuries if a ball or player hits him or her.
    • Diligent oral hygiene including flossing regularly is required.

     

Invisalign

Invisalign on the other hand, is a more modern orthodontic treatment option. This treatment uses customised clear aligners. Every Invisalign tray your teen receives is made specifically for him or her.

With Invisalign, your teenager need not worry about the way they’ll look throughout the course of treatment. The clear aligners are made to snugly fit around your teen’s teeth. It is possible that no one will realise that your teen is wearing Invisalign throughout their treatment. Here’s some important information to help you understand this treatment option better.

 

  • Highlights
    • Invisalign is virtually invisible. There is no need to worry about how your teen will look in pictures and so on.
    • Your teen is able to remove it for a couple of hours each day.
    • There are no diet restrictions.
    • Your teen can continue with his or her hobbies without any worries.
    • Treats a variety of malocclusion conditions.
    • There is an option for virtual monitoring of your child’s treatment progress, known as Dental Monitoring.
  • Requirements
    • Invisalign requires commitment. Your teen will need to wear the clear aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours daily.
    • Regular cleaning of the Invisalign tray is required.
    • There will be scheduled visits to the dentist. This helps to ensure that treatment is going as planned.
    • Diligent oral hygiene practices are required such as brushing one’s teeth after every meal.
    • Your teen might need to bear with a slight lisp initially but not to worry, it will go off after he or she gets used to wearing the clear aligners.

     

Our team at i.Dental are dental professionals trained to correct and revive smiles. Various orthodontic treatment options to suit your preferences are available under our roof including an Invisalign Dedicated Clinic. Take the next step to weigh your treatment options with the help of our dentists. More importantly, all orthodontic treatments at our clinic are tailored to suit your child’s needs and to achieve the goal of helping your child have a confident smile.

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