Braces are only for teens, right? Despite this prevailing belief, it’s not true – especially in speaking of Invisalign. Clear aligners that can be removed for sports, musical instruments, and meals, these appliances are appropriate for a variety of ages, including children and adults. And at the office of Cynthia J. Mikula, DDS in Bay Village, OH, we’re happy to explain how this is possible.
What Is the Right Age for Getting Invisalign?
We have great news: there is no “right” age to start treatment because Invisalign is flexible enough to accommodate nearly any stage of life. In most cases, a patient should have all of their permanent teeth grown in first, which usually happens around 12 or 13. But patients as young as six to 10 years old can start treatment in what’s known as Phase 1.
At this stage, orthodontists can identify concerns that are likely to need early intervention, such as mouth breathing, protruding teeth, or difficulty speaking. Treating these warning signs sooner rather than later can significantly improve a child’s oral health, and treatment for children who still have their baby teeth is known as Invisalign First. It’s designed not only to deliver predictable results but to also meet the unique needs of growing children.
Early Treatment Options
The First program incorporates aligners that fit smaller mouths with shorter tooth crowns. The built-in Eruption Compensation feature also accommodates baby teeth that are still falling out and permanent teeth still growing in, while making adjustments according to the treatment plan we’ve created. And this technology features the same benefits as aligners for older children and adults, such as:
- No food restrictions
- Less chance of needing emergency visits
- No requirement for special brushing or flossing techniques
- No painful wires and brackets poking sensitive tissues
The First technology has undergone extensive testing to ensure it’s appropriate for early orthodontic needs. It also aligns with American Dental Association guidelines suggesting children visit an orthodontist around age seven; this may prevent the need for more invasive treatments during teen and/or adult years. Even if no treatment indication is found, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing our team of experts is monitoring your child’s dental development.
Treatment for Teens
Braces are often described as a rite of passage for teens, a time marked by permanent teeth coming in. That’s why treatment during these years is so common: there’s no longer a need to worry about baby teeth, and correction now builds self-esteem so that in adulthood, your children can feel confident in who they are.
But braces are not without problems, namely the discomfort that comes with having metal brackets temporarily glued to teeth. Teasing is another concern, although it’s often secondary in comparison to discomfort.
Now More Versatile
The solution is easy enough: Invisalign Teen, technology made specifically for teenagers who want appliances that are easier to wear, more comfortable, and less visible than metal braces. Parents often ask how this system stacks up against traditional braces, and we’re happy to report the two treatments are much more comparable now than years ago.
Clear aligners were once reserved for correcting only simple orthodontic issues. Today, however, they’ve evolved to deliver outstanding results for even moderate and complex cases. Some of the concerns Invis can address include:
- Open bites
- Crooked teeth
A Treatment with Specific Intentions
The Teen system is distinguished by a few key characteristics, starting with its new and improved SmartTrack material. This enables the highest levels of control and predictability and also makes the aligners easier to put on and remove. Eruption tabs accommodate erupting molars, and each tray is designed to snugly fit teen teeth.
Thanks to advanced technology, we can display your teen’s Invis results before starting treatment so you know what to expect. And depending on your child’s needs, optional SmartForce Attachments can give the aligners something to gently push against. These small, tooth-colored shapes attach to your teen’s teeth during treatment and act like handles, helping the aligners apply just the right amount of force and make complex tooth movements.
Benefits of Invis Teen
Let’s take a moment and return to the concept of comfort; Invis Teen aligners are made with smooth, clear plastic, designed individually for each teen’s mouth, and trimmed to match the gum line for a perfect fit. Unlike traditional braces, this system does not cut or irritate mouth tissues. Many patients forget altogether that they’re wearing aligners.
This might also be due to the nearly invisible nature of aligners. Crafted to be translucent, this system encourages teens to show their smiles throughout treatment. In turn, they don’t have to sacrifice “being a kid” for the sake of a healthy smile.
Because braces trap food and wires and brackets can be damaged by hard, sticky, or chewy choices, teens must follow a number of diet restrictions for the duration of treatment. This means, among other things, no:
- Pizza crust
- Hard candy
- Popcorn, pretzels, or chips
Invis offers a solution to this dilemma with removable aligners. Teens simply slide them out before eating or drinking – no need to do this with water – and enjoy what they want (in moderation). This ability helps them feel more included during social gatherings and eases the transition into orthodontics.
Aligners Don’t Interfere with Daily Living
If your teen plays a wind instrument or is involved with sports, braces often force an adjustment period. A mouthguard is required so that if your child gets hit, his or her braces aren’t directly damaged. And if that mouthguard is forgotten, your teen can suffer painful mouth cuts.
Invis Teen, on the other hand, allows kids to continue their same lifestyles with minimal changes. This is easier for you, the parent, and also ensures your child can continue enjoying his or her favorite activities. Check-ups are likewise shorter in length to reduce disruptions to your family’s schedule. You can simply plan on coming into our office every six to eight weeks for brief visits.
What About Emergency Visits?
With braces, if your teen doesn’t comply with all the regulations, an emergency visit to our office may be required. We’re talking about broken wires and brackets that happen after eating certain foods or getting hit in the mouth.
These emergency appointments are far less likely with Invis Teen. The aligners can be removed as necessary, although we do need to caution they must be consistently worn around 22 hours a day to ensure teeth move into their proper placement. The point is that with fewer components, the risk for breakage drops significantly.
An Uncompromising Guarantee
Invis Teen is backed by Invisalign’s exclusive guarantee. If you or your teen aren’t completely satisfied with treatment during the first six months, we will switch your child to and apply traditional braces free of charge. You can therefore choose these aligners with total confidence.
Treatment for Adults
If braces in adulthood once seemed like an annoying way to finally have the smile you want, Invis has changed that perception. These discreet, barely-there aligners are perfect for almost any age, including patients well outside their teen years. Nobody will know you’re wearing them because you don’t have to contend with rubber bands, wires, or other highly visible components. And in the meantime, your teeth are moved in a highly predictable manner.
Whether you have a presentation to give, a meeting with your child’s teacher, or a social engagement to attend, you can wear your aligners without feeling self-conscious. Minimal maintenance likewise means you don’t have to give much thought to your appliances. Simply remove the aligners before eating or drinking, as we mentioned children and teens must also do, and brush your teeth before putting them back on.
Little to No Hassle
Each night, gently clean your aligners with a toothbrush and rinse them to remove bacteria. Treatment plans often vary from 12 to 18 months, which is far less than the two years or more that are standard with braces. But the real benefit comes from having a smile you love, which you can soon look forward to showcasing.
The brackets that come with traditional braces shield your teeth enamel from exterior conditions. Once those braces are removed, you’re likely to experience sensitivity until they adjust. Invis doesn’t cause this discomfort because you can still eat and drink as normal.
The same is true of cavity treatment. Depending on your dedication to oral hygiene, you may develop cavities with braces. This doesn’t mean you’ve necessarily neglected to brush and floss as necessary, but that doing so is more difficult with the obstacles posed by wires and brackets. Invis requires that you remove the aligners before brushing, so your hygiene habits largely remain unchanged.
Better Quality of Life and High Satisfaction Levels
Research has long shown that adults happy with their smiles enjoy greater self-esteem. They feel more comfortable in professional settings and enjoy a range of social benefits. For instance, 73% of people believe those with straight teeth are more trustworthy. Straight teeth can also improve your chances in the dating pool, and around 92% of people link an attractive smile to life success.
To obtain such a smile, adults increasingly turn to Invis, which boasts a 96% satisfaction rate among all patients. This system reduces the risks for error by using innovative software that maps a clear path to your new smile. You can see your results before treatment starts – just as we mentioned teens can – and once your digital treatment plan is complete, your aligners are made using a cutting-edge printing process.
You Should Know
Parents of teens commonly ask how they can tell if children are appropriately wearing their aligners. A built-in indicating system eliminates the guesswork; the aligners come equipped with blue dots that fade as the aligners are worn. If those dots remain visible, you’ll know your teen needs a pep talk.
For adults, it’s critical you do not smoke during treatment. Yellow stains caused by the many chemicals in cigarettes cannot be removed with washing or scrubbing. Smoking is also extremely unhealthy for teeth and gums. If quitting isn’t an option, be sure to remove your aligners each time you have a cigarette.
Treatment for All Ages
From seven to 70, Invis can correct a variety of oral concerns and deliver beautiful smiles. Simpler and more convenient than traditional braces, this system allows you to continue enjoying routine activities with minimal disruption. Schedule a consultation today with the office of Cynthia J. Mikula, DDS in Bay Village, OH.