There used to be a time when if you sat in an orthodontist’s waiting room, all you would see was a sea of 9 to 14-year-old kids. These days all bets are off regarding age — addressing teeth alignment issues and getting a beautiful smile is equally essential whether you’re 8, 18, or 80.
The game-changing introduction of the Invisalign system in 1999 was a primary part of this demographic shift in orthodontics. In 2008, Align Technology, the manufacturer of Invisalign reached out to yet another market when it introduced Invisalign Teen. If you are the parent of a teen who needs orthodontic treatment, you may wonder if Invisalign is a good fit.
It depends on the teen, says Ginger Rome, DDS, at The Dentists at North Cypress in Houston, Texas. In this blog, Dr. Rome provides insights on the Invisalign system and how it can help your teen get their dream-worthy smile.
Invisalign treatment explained
Let’s start this discussion by addressing the elephant in the room – regardless of the patient’s age, Invisalign treatment generally plays out the same way. So whether the patient is an adult, a teen, or even a tween, your orthodontist thoroughly examines and discusses treatment goals to determine if your teen is a good candidate for Invisalign.
Just like with traditional braces, the overarching goal with Invisalign is to move teeth to address bite problems like underbites, overbites, or crossbites and issues such as crowded or crooked teeth. But the similarities end there.
Orthodontic treatment with discretionInvisalign offers teens the same trifecta it offers its adult patients – clear aligners that provide complete discretion, the convenience of removability, and a more comfortable orthodontic experience. Unlike conventional braces that use uncomfortable metal wires and brackets that make wearing braces super obvious, Invisalign gently moves teeth using a series of clear aligners or trays that are virtually undetectable.
Your teen slips the aligners over their teeth and switches to a new set every one to three weeks, depending on their personalized treatment plan. Invisalign’s removability feature does require your teen to take a bit more responsibility than conventional braces.
It’s critical that they remember to wear them 20 to 22 hours per day throughout their treatment plan and make sure they don’t lose them. The pluses outweigh the minuses for most patients. But if your teen misplaces them, we can ensure they get a replacement set.
Removability means fewer restrictions
If you ever had conventional braces, you know that avoiding sticky snacks, certain foods like corn on the cob, or candy that can get stuck in between your braces is routinely part of the orthodontics process. Not so with Invisalign.
Your teen can virtually eat or drink anything because they remove their aligners to enjoy a meal, snack, or beverage. Fewer restrictions are best for teens who naturally don’t like to follow lots of rules. After enjoying food or drinks, they need to floss and brush their teeth so that when they slip their aligners back over their teeth, they are clean, fresh, and void of food debris.
Rinsing them off with cool tap water throughout the day and gently brushing them with a soft-bristle toothbrush at night is the only maintenance they require, which is far better than picking food debris out of all the nooks and crannies of conventional braces.
More comfort and less treatment time
And as if more discretion and less pesky rules and maintenance weren’t enough, Invisalign aligners are more comfortable than conventional braces, and treatment time is typically quicker than braces.
Invisalign’s comfort factor is attributed to the aligners, custom-made for each patient and made from flexible thermoplastic instead of metal wires and brackets. Invisalign taps into SmartTrack™ proprietary technology, which can move teeth faster than braces and some other brands of clear aligners.
While traditional braces can take 18 months to three years to produce results, most Invisalign patients see noticeable tooth alignment improvement after about six to 18 months. That sounds like a lot of gain without the pain, which your teen will appreciate.
If your teen needs orthodontics treatment and you would like to know if Invisalign is right for them, contact The Dentists at North Cypress in Houston, Texas, for a consultation. Make your appointment by calling or scheduling an appointment online today.