Rector Orthodontics Blog
101 North 10th Ave, Bozeman, MT, 59715
Invisalign for Teens: Achieving Your Smile Goals Without Braces
Posted by Dr. Jeffrey Rector, September 23th, 2016
Do you or your child want straight teeth and a confident smile but are hesitant to commit to traditional braces? If so, there may be a viable alternative to braces called Invisalign Teen.
Invisalign is a brand that manufactures clear, plastic aligners used to straighten teeth.
The majority of Invisalign users are adults. But, many teens are opting for Invisalign as an alternative to traditional braces for lots of reasons. We will discuss some of the pro's and con's of Invisalign compared to traditional braces.
How Does Invisalign Work?
First of all, we take an impression of your teeth and send it to the Invisalign manufacturing center. Invisalign uses the impression to create a series of plastic aligners based on your orthodontist's recommendations and treatment plan.
Each aligner is a thin, discrete, almost invisible, plastic aligner that covers your teeth. You wear each aligner for 20+ hours per day, for up to two weeks. The number of aligners in your plan may range from 10 to 50 or more depending on how crooked your teeth are and how they need to move.
How much does Invisalign Teen cost?
The price of Invisalign Teen treatment is similar to the cost of traditional braces.
How long does orthodontic treatment with Invisalign Teen take?
The length of treatment time with Invisalign Teen is similar to traditional braces.
Who is a good candidate for Invisalign Teen?
Above all else, Invisalign Teen patients are: 1. Responsible, and 2. Motivated to achieve an awesome smile.
Invisalign Teen patients need to wear aligners for 20+ hours per day for them to work. This means that you should only remove them to eat, brush, floss, and for specific activities. They won't work if they spend most of their time in a backpack pocket or locker at school.
If you or your teen are often losing things, then they may be a better candidate for traditional braces.
[NOTE: Patients with more significant bite problems might be better candidates for traditional braces. A consultation with an orthodontist can determine if Invisalign is an option for you. ]
PRO's of Invisalign #1: It is almost Invisible!
There is no completely invisible way to straighten your teeth. But, Invisalign is as close as it gets. You smile and socialize throughout your treatment without brackets and wires in the way.
PRO's of Invisalign #2: More Comfortable than Braces
Invisalign Teen treatment is usually more comfortable than orthodontic treatment with traditional braces.
There is still some soreness and tenderness of the teeth when you change aligners. But, the patient does not experience discomfort from braces rubbing against the cheeks and lips, pokey wires, etc.
Do you or your teen play musical instruments which may put pressure on the lips? Do you or your teen play sports or activities which require a mouthguard? These are factors that you may consider.
PRO's of Invisalign #3: Brushing and Flossing are Easier than with Braces
The biggest difference between Invisalign Teen and braces is that you can remove Invisalign aligners at any time. Braces bond to your teeth for months or years at a time. This makes brushing and flossing easier with Invisalign Teen than it is with braces. Braces patients must brush and floss around the braces. Invisalign Teen patients can remove aligners and brush and floss the same way they did before orthodontic treatment.
PRO's of Invisalign #4: Less Food Restrictions than Braces
With braces, patients need to be careful what they eat. Certain hard foods can break a braces bracket and cause it to come loose. Certain sticky foods can pull a wire loose. And forget about biting into corn on the cob or an apple!
Invisalign Teen patients can remove aligners and eat pretty much whatever they want. A low sugar diet is still recommended, though.
PRO's of Invisalign #5: Fewer and Shorter Appointments than Braces
We see you or your teen for appointments less often with Invisalign Teen than with braces. Braces need adjustments every 6-8 weeks. Invisalign appointments are often further apart. Also, Invisalign appointments are often shorter. This means less time spent away from school and activities.
There are some advantages to opting for orthodontic treatment with Invisalign Teen. But, there are some definite drawbacks that you should consider as well.
CON's of Invisalign #1: The Patient Does More of the Work
Invisalign Teen patients need to be responsible and motivated because they play a more active role in their treatment. Aligners need to be worn for 20+ hours per day, removing them as little as possible.
The patient's ability to wear the aligners is a critical factor that determines the outcome of the case. If a patient cannot wear aligners as prescribed, we may need to switch to traditional braces.
CON's of Invisalign #2: Aligners can be Lost or Broken
A typical Invisalign Teen patient gets 1-3 months worth of aligners at each appointment. These aligners need to be kept by the patient in a safe location. If aligners are lost, this may delay treatment while replacement aligners are made.
When aligners are removed to eat they should be stored in their case, not wrapped in a napkin where they may end up in a cafeteria garbage can.
Also, if a patient has a dog they need to be careful to keep aligners secure when they are not worn. Dogs love to sniff out and chew up dirty Invisalign aligners!
CON's of Invisalign #3: Not all Teens are Candidates for Invisalign Teen
As mentioned before, certain cases may be better suited for traditional braces.
A consultation with an orthodontist can help decide if you or your teen are candidates for Invisalign Teen or traditional braces.
About the Author: Dr. Jeffrey Rector began his Invisalign training in 2009 at the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, the university where Invisalign was first developed in the 1990's. There, he had the opportunity to learn clinical techniques from some of the most experienced and innovative Invisalign providers in the country. Dr. Rector has been a certified Invisalign provider since 2012 and has treated both adults and teens.
Dr. Jeffrey Rector is a certified orthodontic specialist providing comprehensive orthodontic care for the children, teens, and adults of Bozeman and Southwest Montana. Dr. Rector was trained at Montana State University, the University of Montana, University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
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