Invisalign for Teens: A Parent's Guide to Modern Orthodontics
Most children and teens will need orthodontic treatment of some kind. As the baby teeth are shed and the permanent teeth come in, some adjustments may need to be made to properly align the teeth. Orthodontic treatment during the later childhood and early teenage years is the most beneficial for a lifetime of oral health.
While there are a few different types of orthodontic treatment, Invisalign is the most highly desired by teens due to a variety of benefits, especially the discreet appearance. If you’re the parent of a teenager in need of orthodontic treatment, this guide will help you understand modern orthodontics in order to choose the best option for your child.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment consisting of clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth and gradually shift them into the proper position. Over the course of treatment the patient will wear a set of aligners, each for about 2 weeks, until the teeth are in the desired place.
What is Invisalign Teen?
Invisalign Teen is a type of Invisalign treatment designed especially for teenagers. The added features of Invisalign Teen include:
- Replacement aligners. It is common for aligners to get lost during treatment, especially for teenagers, so 6 replacement aligners are built into the total cost of treatment.
- Compliance indicators. There are indicators on each aligner that wear off gradually when the aligners are worn for the required number of hours per day.
- Accommodations for erupting teeth. Some older children and teens may not have all of their permanent teeth in place at the beginning of treatment. The Invisalign system builds in adjustments for new teeth that come in during treatment.
Length of Treatment
Invisalign treatment may take anywhere from 6 to 18 months when it is worn according to your dentist’s instructions. It is often shorter than braces treatment, which averages anywhere from 1 to 3 years.
The Invisalign Process
The Invisalign process includes the following steps:
- A consultation and evaluation will be needed to determine if the patient is an ideal candidate for Invisalign.
- Impressions are made of the teeth that are uploaded to the Invisalign software.
- Invisalign software creates a treatment plan to shift the teeth into the proper position.
- The aligners are created and shipped to your dentist.
- You begin with the first aligner and wear each one in order according to your dentist’s instructions.
- Your dentist will monitor your progress periodically and make any necessary adjustments.
- Once you have worn all of your aligners, your active treatment should be complete. You will need to wear retainers to maintain your results.
Frequently Asked Questions About Invisalign
Does Invisalign Cost More Than Braces?
The cost of Invisalign is comparable to the cost of braces. Earlier versions of Invisalign used to be more expensive than braces, but changes have been made to make them more affordable so that parents can feel better about choosing Invisalign for their teen.
Does Invisalign Work As Well As Braces?
Invisalign is just as effective as braces for patients who are ideal candidates. Mild to moderate orthodontic cases can typically be treated with Invisalign. Severe cases may require braces in order to make the necessary adjustments to the teeth to achieve optimal oral health.