Whether Invisalign is an appropriate choice for your child depends on the severity of the bite problem or misaligned teeth. But if your older child or teen has all his or her permanent teeth, Invisalign may seem more appealing since the aligners offer benefits that traditional braces don't.
The clear plastic trays that a dentist or orthodontist uses to straighten your teen's teeth or correct a bite issue aren't nearly as noticeable as dental braces with metal brackets and wires. In fact, they are nearly invisible. People won't even know that your teen is wearing braces – a factor that can boost your child's self-confidence at an age when appearance affects body image and esteem.
These custom-made aligners, which look something like a retainer, gently move teeth into proper position and are easier to wear than braces. The aligners are removable so that your teen won't have to avoid eating certain foods and can continue to play brass or woodwind musical instruments and participate in sports without having to worry about damaging the braces or cutting his or her lower lip or inside of the mouth.
Considering that metal dental braces can injure the tissue inside your child's mouth, Invisalign is more comfortable to wear. Being able to remove the aligners for short periods of time also makes it easier for wearers to brush and floss their teeth, reducing the risk of cavities and gum disease.
Compliance is a critical component contributing to a successful treatment outcome. With Invisalign, your teen's orthodontist can track whether he or she is wearing the aligners as instructed. Each individual aligner has blue indicator dots that fade from dark blue to lighter shades to clear with wear.
The degree of color fade tells the orthodontist whether your child is cooperating and wearing the aligners for the recommended length of time each day. While the number of hours of daily wear an orthodontist prescribes varies based on an individual's treatment plan, the color indicators help affirm that your child is wearing the aligners as directed. The color dots are also reminders to your teen that the aligners won't work unless he or she wears them.
Comparable Treatment Time
Although the actual treatment time varies by individual and depends on the severity of your child's dental issue, generally, the number of months your teen must wear Invisalign is no longer than the length of time he or she would wear traditional braces – sometimes it's shorter. Invisalign moves teeth just a little bit at a time and usually requires fewer trips to the dentist or orthodontist throughout the treatment period for adjustments, which means blocking off less time for dental visits.