Irvine, CA - If your teen has been told he or she will need braces, chances are good you’ve been asked if there is a less conspicuous way to get a straighter smile. You may have braved the world with metal braces during your teen years, but braces have come a long way since then.
“Braces today aren’t like what they were even 15 years ago,” says Dr. Sophia Updike, an Irvine orthodontist who treats patients of all ages. “Traditional metal braces are still the most popular, but they certainly don’t look or feel the way they used to. And we’re seeing an increase in the number of patients using Invisalign clear aligners, thanks to improvements in the technology that allow more patients than ever before to use them.”
If your teen has asked about Invisalign Teen, what do you need to know? Dr. Updike answers the most commonly asked questions.
What exactly is Invisalign Teen?
Gone are the days when the only option to straighten your teeth was metal brackets and wires. Invisalign Teen uses a series of clear plastic aligners to gently guide the teeth to their new locations. Each set of aligners is custom made for your child and fits over the teeth. Every two weeks, your teen will trade the current aligner out for a new one. Each set of aligners will gently shift the teeth until they’ve reached their desired locations.
If my child chooses Invisalign Teen, will it be as effective as metal braces?
Yes! If your teen sticks to the plan created by his or her orthodontist, Invisalign Teen is as effective in moving teeth. We now have the ability to use special attachments and buttons to help us guide even the most difficult malocclusions through the use of Invisalign. But, the only way to know for sure what the best treatment option is for your teen is to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist.
What are the advantages to Invisalign Teen?
The first advantage is that the aligners are clear, allowing your teen to get a straighter smile, without the conspicuous metal brackets and wires associated with orthodontics. But in addition to that, the aligners are made from a smooth plastic, making them comfortable to wear, and they are removable. That means your teen doesn’t have to make adjustments to his or her diet. The aligners are removed before eating and drinking, so your teen can still enjoy all of his favorite foods. And, brushing and flossing is easy because your teen doesn’t have to maneuver around brackets and wires.
Will it take longer to straighten my teen’s teeth with Invisalign?
While we can only ever give estimates of how long any treatment will take, Invisalign treatment times are often on par with those of metal braces. The exact time your child will spend in orthodontic treatment will depend on the severity of his malocclusion, how quickly his mouth responds to treatment, and most importantly, that your teen complies with proper wear and care of the Invisalign aligners.
Isn’t Invisalign much more expensive than braces?
Invisalign is pretty similar in cost to traditional metal brackets. If you have dental insurance, your policy should cover Invisalign just the same as it would traditional braces. The costs of orthodontic treatment vary, depending on how severe the orthodontic case is, as well as where in the country you live.
What are the drawbacks to Invisalign?
One of the most popular advantages to Invisalign Teen is also a drawback. Because the aligners are removable, that means your teen can remove them whenever she wants. It might be tempting for your teen to take the aligners out for a big date or other occasion, and that only makes it more tempting to do more often. To be effective, the aligners should be worn an average of 22 hours a day - they should only be removed to eat, drink, brush and floss.
How can I be sure my teen wears the aligners as indicated by the orthodontist?
Invisalign Teen comes with an assurance check so orthodontists (and parents!) can make sure the teen is wearing them as required. Invisalign Teen aligners have blue indicators that will fade over time when worn as directed, so we can be sure your teen stays on track.
Invisalign Teen offers a great way for your teen to get the smile he or she has always wanted, without drawing more attention to the mouth during treatment. Teens and parents everywhere love it. If you’re interested in learning if your child may be a good candidate for Invisalign, schedule a consultation today by calling 949-870-9713.