braces have long been a staple of the teenage years. When we were growing up, most of our friends probably had them, all at about the same time. I had metal braces for the last two years of high school. In my group, they were so commonplace that they weren’t something that anyone was teased about. The same probably could not be said of other groups and other people. The most aggravating thing about braces was not even the possibility of being teased—it was the discomfort and annoyances that went along with having metal brackets cemented to your teeth.
Enter Invisalign Teen: removable plastic aligners that do much of the same work like metal braces, made specifically for teenagers. They are universally lauded as being easier to wear, less noticeable, and more comfortable than metal braces.
Life is stressful enough. Who are you going to take to the dance? Is your team going to win the big football game? Will you ace that big final coming up? Not to mention school pictures. Here is one less thing to stress about, get your smile straightened without having to deal with braces.
Invisalign means you smile and straighten all at the same time. Don’t let braces stand in the way of your confidence anymore!
Invisalign for Teens is customized to fit your mouth, clear, removable, comfortable, and guaranteed to straighten your teeth. But are they right for your teen?
Let’s take a look at what makes Invisalign such an excellent treatment option for teens!
The Invisible option
Invisalign Teen is a clear aligner system providing a nearly invisible way of straightening teeth using clear, removable aligners that are custom-made specifically for your teen’s teeth. These aligners replace the wires, brackets, and bands that traditional braces use.
If we’re being honest, image is important. Being able to feel like they fit in with their peers plays a big part in a teen’s self-confidence and self-esteem. During a recently conducted Teen Confidence survey, Invisalign found that teens wearing their clear aligners were almost 70% less likely to be teased than those wearing traditional metal braces. That’s a pretty significant statistic, and one that’s hard to ignore.
In that same survey, the results showed that teens wearing Invisalign aligners were more likely to experience a boost in self-esteem while in treatment than those wearing metal braces. Unfortunately, middle and high school is timed to coincide with the height of hormone-based craziness, and kids can often be teased for appearing different in any way. Being able to straighten their teeth more subtly means they can skip all the self-conscious stuff and focus on cultivating their self-confidence instead!
Eat, drink, and be merry
When you’re a teen or a young adult, a lot of social activities revolve around food. Unfortunately, the food restrictions associated with traditional braces can mean sticking out like a sore thumb when you’re not able to participate. The wires and brackets of metal braces mean passing up anything sticky, chewy, or crunchy, and saying no to staple snacks like popcorn, nuts, or apples. However, Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed every time your teen eats or drinks, so there’s no need to make a whole new menu based around their braces!
Most patients can eat and drink normally while in treatment, but it’s important to maintain a vigorous dental hygiene routine. It’s an important part of everyday life, but even more so with any kind of orthodontic treatment. Patients should brush and floss thoroughly at least twice every day. Keeping food and bacteria from becoming trapped against teeth and gums is imperative, but the wires and brackets of metal braces can often make caring for teeth a little trickier than normal. Teens will be advised to remove their Invisalign aligner when brushing and flossing; this makes keeping teeth clean and healthy a whole lot easier!
Food and flossing aren’t the only areas where the flexibility of Invisalign Teen gives it an edge over traditional braces. Contact sports can be questionable with metal braces, since the brackets and wires can break or be knocked loose, causing irritation or pain to the sensitive skin of the gums and cheeks. Traditional braces can also get in the way of playing mouthy musical instruments. With Invisalign, teens can remove their aligners, allowing your sports superstar or mighty musician to focus when and where it’s most important.
Similar cost and effectiveness
Invisalign Teen can be every bit as effective as traditional braces for most common teeth-straightening cases, but only when worn the recommended 20-22 hours a day, every day, so your teen needs to be reliable with this. Many parents worry that this will be an issue, but a clinical study showed that teens wear their aligners more responsibly than most adults! If you’re still not convinced, we’ve got you covered: each Invisalign Teen aligner has a blue indicator that will fade over time when used as directed. This allows me to keep up with and track each patient’s progress and compliance.
Invisalign can successfully treat most mild to moderate cases of underbite, overbite, overcrowding, and gaps between the teeth. Although not every teen is a candidate for Invisalign, most will be, so get in touch with us to find out if it’s a good fit for your teen.
Also, many dental insurance policies will cover Invisalign Teen orthodontic treatment. Our office staff is always available to help you with insurance claims and paperwork. As a courtesy to our patients, we’ll submit claims on your behalf. We’re also willing to customize a solution for your financial needs by offering payment plans that fit your budget, so treatment is affordable and practical. We never want a patient to miss out on orthodontic treatment due to funds, and our friendly financial coordinators will work with you to make sure that’s never an issue for you or your family.
How does Invisalign Teen work?
Invisalign Teen is a clear aligner system for teeth made specifically for teenagers. It provides an almost invisible way of straightening teeth using clear, removable aligners that are custom-made specifically for your teen’s teeth. Traditional braces use wires, brackets, and bands while Invisalign replaces all of these appliances with simple, clear aligners. Invisalign often looks just like the plastic retainers that most teenagers get when they are done with their metal braces treatment.
How can these plastic trays move your teen’s teeth? They do it in a very similar way to how braces move your teeth. The aligners put pressure on the teeth, gradually shifting them out of misalignment and into alignment. Every two weeks, your teen will trade out the old aligner for a new one, and the teeth will continue to move. There may be some discomfort as the teeth adjust to the new aligner, but there is generally less discomfort than with metal braces.
Is Invisalign more expensive than other types of treatments?
One of the reasons many parents decide on metal braces instead of Invisalign is the misconception that Invisalign is always going to be more expensive than other treatments. While it might have initially been more expensive than other treatments, today, most braces and Invisalign treatments cost about the same amount, if your insurance covers Invisalign, which most plans do, these days. The simplest answer to this that you will have to ask your orthodontist specifically what the costs will be in your case. In most cases, the costs are about the same.
What happens if my teen loses an aligner?
Your teen might take out his aligners to eat lunch at school, put them on a napkin, and accidentally threw them away. He might leave them at a friend’s house, or they might, as things do, just disappear. What is going to happen if you misplace a set of aligners? In general, you can simply get a replacement by contacting us and letting us know that the aligners have gone missing. Depending on how close your teen was to swapping out those aligners for the next set, we might just move on to the next set and not worry about a replacement.
How many hours a day does my teen need to wear his aligners?
For treatment to be as effective as possible, your teen needs to wear his aligners for a minimum of twenty-two hours every day. That gives him plenty of time to take them out for eating and cleaning. At all other times, as often as possible, he should be wearing them. Sometimes, your teen might have extracurricular activities that require him to remove those aligners, like band or sports, but Invisalign aligners are designed to be discreet enough that they can be worn at all other times without disrupting your teen’s life.
Are there any diet restrictions?
With metal braces, there are lots of diet restrictions and it can be very difficult to determine whether or not your teen is following those restrictions. I know that I, as a teenager who wore braces for almost two years, did not always follow the instructions of my orthodontist, probably much to his chagrin. I had spacers in between my back teeth and once bit down so hard on a gummy bear that they were completely displaced and I had to go in to have them removed and replaced the next day. With Invisalign for teens, however, there are no dietary restrictions. Because your teen can remove the aligners completely from his or her mouth when it is time to eat, they can eat whatever they like, whenever they’d like.
What are some common issues with Invisalign?
The biggest roadblock we see with Invisalign for teen patients is that they simply do not wear their aligners enough. Especially in the beginning, there is an adjustment period, during which your teen might speak with a little bit of a lisp or notice increased saliva production as the mouth adjusts to something new in its environment. These things can discourage a teen from wearing their aligners, even if they know that, over time, if they keep wearing their aligners, those issues will go away. It is really up to the parent and the teen to make sure that the aligners are being worn.
How can I know if my teen is wearing his aligners?
We will be able to tell, when your teen comes in for checkups, whether or not he has been wearing his aligners. If he is progressing at the right rate, it will be obvious that he has been diligent about wearing those aligners as much as possible. If he is lagging behind a little bit, this could be an indication that he has not been wearing them as often as he should have been. If he is far behind on his treatment, we can attribute this to not wearing his aligners as prescribed.
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.