Invisalign for Teens: The Pros and Cons About 4.5 million American teenagers will need braces on their teeth at some point. If you have a teenager, you probably know that the idea of wearing metal braces for several years isn?t going to thrill them. Nowadays, more and more parents are opting to invest in Invisalign for teens. However, you should know the pros and cons before you decide what?s right for your family.
What is Invisalign?
If you haven?t heard about Invisalign, you should know the basics before hearing the pros and cons. Like traditional braces, Invisalign will shift the teeth little by little until they are straight. However, Invisalign uses clear, plastic teeth aligners that resemble a mouthguard to gradually shift the teeth into place. Through an exam, X-rays, and a digital scan, molds of the teeth are created. The molds will slip right over top of your teen?s teeth. Every two weeks, patients get new molds. This process continues for anywhere from nine months to a year.
One reason to consider Invisalign for teens is that they’re much less noticeable than traditional braces. Because Invisalign is made from clear plastic and fits right over the teeth, it isn?t as obvious when someone is wearing them. And unlike clear or lingual braces, which are also less noticeable, Invisalign can be removed without a dentist?s help. Teens can slip them off for things like pictures or prom. Teenagers have enough to worry about, so feeling less self-conscious about their smile is a good thing.
Invisalign can also be more comfortable than braces. The smooth plastic is molded for a perfect fit and there are no metal components to deal with. This means less irritation or poking from wires and brackets.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day — and brushing is easier with Invisalign. Teens can just remove the molds and brush their teeth. They don?t have to worry about trying to pick things out of metal braces or trying to floss around them. Teens can also eat whatever they want if they have Invisalign. With braces, teens have to avoid popcorn, taffy, licorice, and hard candy because food can get stuck. With Invisalign, teens just take the molds off before they eat.
Invisalign is less likely to get damaged than braces are. If your teen gets hit in the mouth during a sport, they?re going to need an emergency visit to the dentist. The wire and brackets are more likely to break than a plastic mold.
Appointments are shorter with Invisalign, as well. For busy teens, this can be a more convenient option. Braces require frequent adjustments in the office, but Invisalign is a simple check up every six to eight weeks.
Invisalign can make singing or playing an instrument or sport easier, too. Oftentimes, braces get in the way of these activities. Invisalign doesn?t get in the way or cause cuts in the mouth when teens are trying to participate.
Invisalign is most effective on mild or moderate problems. If your teen has a more severe bite issue, braces might still work best.
Invisalign has only been around since 1999, while braces have been around much longer. Some people may see braces as the more tried and true method of teeth straightening.
Sometimes, you may need attachments for the molds, which get cemented onto the teeth. These can make Invisalign more noticeable.
Your teen will have to leave the molds on for 22 hours each day for them to be effective. Invisalign molds are removed for eating or drinking or a special occasion, but then they need to be put back on. Your teen must also brush their teeth each time they remove the molds before putting them back on. If your teen isn?t disciplined enough or is forgetful, they may not wear them the required amount of time.
Your teen also runs the risk of losing their molds. Just as many teens throw out a retainer at lunchtime, teens could throw out their molds. These olds can be more difficult to spot because they are clear.
Invisalign can be more expensive than braces. Each case is different, and you would need to check with your teen?s dentist to know what your cost would be.
If you are considering Invisalign for teens, look at the pros and cons carefully before deciding and find a qualified provider to do the work if you decide to move forward.