Let’s be frank… teenagers face lots of decisions on a daily basis but from what we see in our office, the decision that stumps them the most is “What color do I want for my braces this month!?” Simply put, teens are opting to make fashion statements out of their braces! It is common to seen teenagers wearing colors on their braces to celebrate holidays, show school pride, or show team spirit for their favorite sports team. Think about it… how hard would it be to choose your color accessory for the next month for your lapel pin or your bracelet.
Many of our patients enjoy choosing different colors every month for their braces: blue + gold school colors in the fall, pink + red for Valentine’s Day, red + white + blue at Fourth of July, and even pink in October to promote breast cancer awareness! Many use the colors on their braces as a form of self-expression, and we are always so impressed to see the creative and artistic color combinations. Even adult patients will sometimes surprise with a special color combination and request for a special occasion.
As a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), I find that as I meet with other Orthodontists around the country at meetings, we all conclude that the colors are not just for looks, but these colorful elastic ties have a purpose. The colorful elastic ties hold the wire in the brackets attached to the teeth and activate the wire to move the teeth. The elastic ties are changed at every visit to continue to activate the wire and move the teeth as desired.
While the function of the elastics is important, there is a far greater use for the colorful elastic ties beyond the technical use they are designed for. The colorful ties are a reward for hard-working and cooperative patients. Braces are hard work for the patient to clean and maintain and the colorful ties are often a positive reward for a patient’s hard work. We try to keep all of the fun color options available for my patients and let them pick multiple colors as a reward for keeping their teeth and braces very clean. Having lots of fun color options to choose from keeps patients engaged and motivated in their treatment, and this often leads to better cooperation and outcomes for patients. While some patient prefer less noticeable treatment options like clear aligners or clear ceramic braces, the fun colorful braces are a very popular treatment option.
When I was a patient myself it was very difficult to choose my color options for my braces each month; and I typically choose holiday colors or school colors. Now the burning question you may have…. My favorite from when I had my own braces as a teen? The color splash of hot pink + lime green!