Braces for Teens: What Type of Braces Work the Fastest?

For many teens, getting braces is a rite of passage. Some teens look forward to braces because they are dreaming of having a beautiful smile. Other teens dread the thought because they feel self-conscious about wearing metal brackets. In either case, most teens want the process to go as quickly as possible. At Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL, we offer several different types of braces for teens.

Special Considerations for Teenagers

Treatment Time

We understand that when your teen has braces, making time for appointments to get them adjusted is not always convenient. It goes without saying that most people (not just teens) who get braces can’t wait to have them taken off, revealing their newly straightened teeth. Therefore, treatment time is a significant factor to consider when you and your teen choose a type of treatment.


Before getting braces, some teenagers are afraid that they will be uncomfortable showing their teeth because they don’t like the look of the metal components. Fortunately, we have come a long way from the large metal brackets of the past. Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional braces, and they are barely visible. If your teen is not a good candidate for clear aligners, there are several other types of braces that are designed to be subtle.


Some types of braces can tackle a greater variety of orthodontic challenges than others. At the end of the day, you want your teen to have straight teeth.


Teens tend to be very active people, especially when they play sports. While most braces do not interfere with everyday activities like sports practice, some are made of stronger material than others. It is unlikely that your teen’s braces will pop. Wearing a mouthguard can reduce the chances of this happening even further. However, if you are choosing between two different types of braces, the element of durability could swing the scale one way or the other.

4 Different Types of Braces for Teens

Mini-Diamond Braces

How They Work

Mini-diamond braces are very comparable to traditional braces. They are made up of a system of brackets, archwires, and ligatures. The brackets are glued to the teeth using special dental glue, and the ligature (a system of rubber bands) holds the brackets to the archwire.

Like traditional braces, mini-diamond braces work by exerting constant, gentle pressure on the teeth. The teeth move slowly in response to this pressure. As they move into their new positions, the bones and tissue fill in the spaces they left behind so that they don’t move back after the braces are removed.

The Benefits of Mini-Diamond Braces

The biggest difference between mini-diamond braces and traditional braces is that mini-diamond braces are smaller. This means that they are less noticeable and more comfortable than traditional metal braces. Fortunately, you don’t need to compromise on treatment time, as it’s about the same, compared to traditional braces. Also, the mini-diamond can tackle cases of severe misalignment. Like traditional braces, they are made of very strong materials.

Another advantage mini-diamond braces have is the fact that they are more hygienic than traditional braces. Their small size means that they are easier to brush and they have less surface area to build up plaque in your teen’s mouth.

Clear Braces

How They Work

Clear braces are made from a clear ceramic material that is more subtle in appearance. Otherwise, they function the same way other types of braces do, with an archwire and elastic ligature.

The Benefits of Clear Braces

The biggest advantage of choosing clear braces for your teen is the fact that they are less noticeable. Your teen might be less reluctant to get braces if he or she knows that they will not be very visible. Teens who opt for clear braces should know that they are more fragile than other types and, therefore, require a little more vigilance. He or she should also be aware that the clear elastics will discolor if not properly brushed.

Note, too, that clear braces are larger than other types of braces and can be uncomfortable when applied to the bottom teeth. For this reason, many people choose clear braces for their top teeth and select a different option for the bottom teeth.

SmartClip Braces

How They Work

SmartClip braces are a very exciting development in the world of orthodontics. They are the first treatment that can actually be faster than traditional braces. The main difference is that instead of having elastic ligature, they use metal clips to attach the brackets to the archwire. In all types of braces, the teeth must move along the archwire to reach their new positions. Elastic ligature creates friction between the teeth and the wire, slowing the process.

The Benefits of SmartClip Braces

SmartClip braces do away with the elastic bands, allowing the teeth to move more freely (and more quickly). This cuts down on the overall treatment time and on the number of appointments your teen will need. Traditional braces need to be adjusted every 4 to 6 weeks. With SmartClip braces, your teen will only need to come in once every 8 to 12 weeks.


How Invisalign Works

The Invisalign treatment stands out among the others as the most different. It consists of a series of clear, plastic aligners that fit over your teen’s teeth. Gradually, they mold the teeth into the desired position. The treatment begins with a scan of your teen’s teeth. Afterward, images are uploaded into a special software program. This program allows us to see the exact current condition of your teen’s teeth and to plan their realignment down to the precise movement of each tooth.

After your teen’s care is planned out, we use a 3D printer to create the aligners. Each new set of aligners gradually encourages the teeth into a straighter position. Your teen will switch the aligners out every few weeks at home. He or she just needs to come into the office a few times so that we can check on the progress.

The Benefits of Invisalign

The most obvious benefit of Invisalign is the fact that the aligners are clear. You really can’t tell when someone is wearing them. This leaves your teen free to smile naturally in photographs and go about life without thinking about teeth. Another advantage is the fact that your teen can take out the aligners while eating, meaning that there are no food restrictions. Finally, your teen will remove the aligners to brush his or her teeth. The aligners themselves are cleaned separately.

However, traditional braces and their variations (mini-diamond, ceramic, and SmartClip) are still more effective when it comes to severely misaligned teeth. If your teen is interested in Invisalign, we can schedule a consultation to see if it will be an effective treatment in his or her case. Another thing to note is that if your teen removes his or her aligners too often and is not disciplined about putting them back in, the treatment time can be extended.

Which Type of Braces Can Straighten Teeth the Fastest?

If achieving the fastest treatment time is the biggest priority for you and your teen (beyond straightening the teeth), SmartClip braces are a good choice. They offer a technological breakthrough in the form of self-ligating brackets that reduces the amount of friction in the system. That said, the other options are also good choices, and none of them has the disadvantage of incurring a very long treatment time.

At one time, Invisalign took longer to straighten teeth; however, in 2013 the Invisalign company changed the material they use. The new SmartTrack material gives us greater control over the realignment of the teeth, allowing us to reduce treatment time.

Which Types of Braces for Teens Look and Function Best?

The most important consideration is which method will straighten your teen’s teeth the best. We can determine this during a consultation. We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach, and all of the options we offer are effective for the patients whose needs they can address.

Apart from achieving straighter teeth, if the appearance of your teen’s braces is a concern, Invisalign is the most subtle option. Mini-diamond and clear braces offer a good compromise between addressing complex orthodontic needs and having a minimal impact on your teen’s appearance.

When it comes to durability, all types of braces are designed for minimal chance of breakage. Your teen will have to be more careful if he or she chooses clear ceramic braces.

The Life-Long Benefits of Straighter Teeth

No matter which option you and your teen choose, the results will last a lifetime. For most people, the average treatment time is two years. When compared with decades of straight, beautiful teeth, it doesn’t seem like a long time.

The benefits of having braces cannot be understated. They minimize the risk of disease, create a more professional appearance, increase self-confidence, and enable better hygiene. The teenage years are an excellent time to achieve straighter teeth and get set up for a lifetime of good dental health.

Choosing the Perfect Type of Braces for Teens

During the teenage years, there are many changes and challenges. Between schoolwork, extracurriculars, dating, navigating new responsibilities, and adjusting to physical growth spurts, there is a lot at play. Fortunately, your teen’s orthodontic care doesn’t have to add more pressure to his or her life, although it will exert some beneficial pressure on their teeth!

We understand that your teen’s self-image is important. One of the biggest reasons people get braces is so they can enjoy having a beautiful smile and all the confidence that comes with it. The types of braces we offer are designed to get your teen through the process as quickly as possible while providing him or her with the highest level of orthodontic care. You can assure your teen that during the process, today’s braces are both subtle and easy to live with.

How to Get Started

The best way to learn more about the different types of braces for teens is to schedule a consultation with us. We can evaluate your teen’s condition and discuss his or her priorities when it comes to treatment. The good news about orthodontics these days is that patients have more control than ever.

Braces today are more comfortable, less noticeable, and more effective than they were in the past. With all of the available options, you and your teen can choose the solution that is perfect for him or her.Contact Bowman DMD in Fort Walton Beach, FL for more information about the different types of braces. We would be delighted to match your teen with the perfect treatment plan.