December 20, 2018 Ann Le Invisalign could be a treatment option for some teens and children. Many children benefit from orthodontic treatment. It can work to fix tooth spacing problems, cross bites, teeth crowding, overbites and gapped teeth. Today’s braces have changed significantly. Many types are hard to notice and capable of helping patients develop stronger and healthier teeth. They are also lighter in weight, which makes them easier to wear. Still, some teens simply don’t want to use them. This is where Invisalign can become an option. Invisalign’s products for children and teens are designed to be a more comfortable option than braces. They are harder to notice and easier to wear overall. What is Invisalign – A Quick Overview Invisalign has become one of the more recognized names in tooth alignment tools. In short, Invisalign uses clear aligners to help straighten teeth. They are an alternative to typical metal braces. Over a period of time, these aligners are adjusted to encourage the teeth to move into the desired position. Each aligner is customized to fit the specific shape of the patient’s mouth. The company uses advanced methods to be able to create these highly durable, but nearly clear aligners. Aligners are often anchored with the help of attachments, little dots of dental composite applied to the front of teeth to allow the aligners to accomplish movements more effectively. Invisalign Teen is a product the company created just for use in teens. It is specifically designed to be easy to wear and comfortable, making teens more likely to use it consistently to see the desired results. As clear aligners, it does not impact their overall look, which can be self-motivating for those using them to fix problems such as an overbite or to straighten crooked teeth. Benefits of Invisalign for Teens & Children The entire family may benefit from Invisalign in some areas. For teens and children using them, there are some key benefits possible including the following: They are clear – In most situations, Invisalign is nearly invisible. This means no one has to know you are wearing them unless you tell them or unless they are very close. As a result, they take away from the “ugly” look of traditional metal braces. They are comfortable – Designed to be lightweight, Invisalign does not cause the same type of pain and discomfort as traditional braces. The aligners can create some discomfort initially, but this is significantly less after the initial adjustment period ends. They work effectively – Most important to users is that they are effective. They can create the desired smile many want by fixing the same problems that braces fix. Both treatment options take about the same time to work, too. They are convenient to use – For teens and kids, the simple ability to use them flexibly can be a nice benefit. For example, kids can take them out when they are participating in sports or other activities. They also do not impact what a child can eat. That’s because they can be taken out when eating or drinking. It is also very easy to continue to care for the teeth with Invisalign in place. It is possible to brush, floss, and keep each tooth clean. Once done brushing, the user simply puts the aligner back into place. There are additional selling points for young people, including personalized cases and the ability to track treatment process via the My Invisalign app. When it comes to transforming teen smiles, we’ve perfected the tech. Here’s how you can help with the rest. 👍 pic.twitter.com/52kFaPhWMK — Invisalign (@Invisalign) November 30, 2018 At What Age Can a Child Start Invisalign Treatment? Age is often a question many patients have. There is no set age when users can begin using Invisalign, but there are a few things to take into consideration before choosing them. For example, the individual should no longer have baby teeth. In addition to this, some of the adult teeth should be coming in, though it is not necessary to wait for all of the adult teeth to be in place before using Invisalign. Specifically, all permanent incisors and the child’s first molars should be present or erupted. It is possible to use Invisalign even when the second and third molars have yet to erupt. In this instance, it is possible for aligners to be designed and fitted around those missing teeth. They are designed with eruption tabs. These work to hold a spot for the tooth that has yet to come in. In most situations, Invisalign can work technically. There is little structure in the child’s mouth that prevents the use of them. This is even applicable in more complex situations. Yet, the most important factors is the child’s commitment to using them. This stems from maturity. The child must be able to be responsible for using, caring for, and maintaining the Invisalign products. So When Is a Child Ready for Invisalign? The best person to make the decision about whether a child is ready for Invisalign is the parent. He or she understands the child well enough to know if the child will use the aligners properly. If the child does not use them properly, there is the chance that they will not benefit from them. This is very important at the start of using Invisalign. During the initial period of adjustment, there may be some noticeable changes. For example, some may notice the production of more saliva or the development of a lisp. These resolve on their own over time, in most cases, but they can be discouraging to deal with for a teen. A new product, a bit of discomfort initially, and these factors can easily be distracting and hard to overcome. Another aspect of responsibility comes from managing the process. Children need to be able to maintain their aligners. That means not misplacing them or forgetting to wear them. And, good dental hygiene is also important. Individuals will remove their aligners to brush and floss, as well as while eating. However, they must put them back into place afterward. They must be worn at least 22 hours a day to create the desired results. The process also takes time. During this time, the teen must switch aligners to the next in the series, approximately every 2 weeks, and make regular visits to the dentist to check on progress, roughly every 6 weeks. The average treatment time is three to six months. For a teen, that can be a long time. Ask yourself how your child’s existing dental habits are. This can provide insight into whether or not they are likely to make the adjustment to Invisalign products. The Role of Parents As a parent, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure your child’s dental health is well maintained. That is not always easy to do. Parents should properly understand what Invisalign is, how it works, and how it can benefit their child. It also is important to understand what is required of the process to ensure it occurs in the day-to-day tasks of the child. And, parents need to realize that, if the treatment is interrupted, there may be limitations on its effectiveness. Parents need to be able to communicate with their child about the requirements of using the product. It is a family affair with great benefits to those who use it properly. And, consider that the cost depends on the treatment’s success. If the child does not use the products properly, this can extend treatment and add to the cost. How Much Is Invisalign? Is it Covered by Insurance? Costs are always a consideration for any orthodontic treatment. Insurance may offer some support here. Some parents decide on braces because there is a common misconception that Invisalign is more expensive. Today, these costs are more in line with each other. If an insurance policy covers Invisalign, which is becoming a common occurrence, its costs are quite affordable for most families. When you come in for an exam and consultation, you can learn what the costs will be upfront. When you compare them to traditional braces, you may find there is no significant difference. Ann LeAnn Le has been successfully managing dental practices since 1990. She is currently Practice Manager at Bunker Hill Dentistry in Houston, TX which she runs with her husband Dr. Tri M Le.