Did you know the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children see an orthodontist by age 7? The truth is, you don’t have to wait until your child is a teenager to get orthodontic work done if they need it. In fact, it’s often better for children to get orthodontic work done before their mouths have completely set.
And one of the best treatments out there is Invisalign®. Invisalign doesn’t use wires, brackets, or anything metal. This system uses clear, removable, plastic aligners, so your child can smile without trepidation. In this blog, Dana Samet, DDS, of Dental Art of South Bay in Torrance, California, discusses what Invisalign is and how it may be able to help your child.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a system that uses clear, removable, plastic aligners. Adults and children can use Invisalign, but there are some differences.
A general overview
With Invisalign, a patient’s mouth is scanned with a 3-D imaging system. Then, they’re given a number of custom aligner sets, with each set slightly adjusted. Every two weeks or so, the patient replaces one set of aligners with another. By the time the patient takes out the last set, they have a beautiful smile.
Traditional braces still have their place ― especially in certain complex cases ― but Invisalign can correct many of the issues braces can, such as crooked teeth and bite alignment problems. Other benefits of Invisalign include the following:
- Less noticeable than metal braces
- Can be removed for eating
- Can be removed for brushing and flossing
- You don’t need to avoid foods, such as sticky foods or popcorn
- There’s no pain associated with the wires and brackets of traditional braces
Despite the fact that Invisalign aligners are removable, the system is still extremely effective at applying the right amount of pressure to shift teeth into their correct positions.
Invisalign for children
Even though the concept of Invisalign is the same for both children and adults, we do things slightly differently with children. In fact, there’s actually a version of Invisalign specifically designed for children called Invisalign First.
The first step of Invisalign for children is putting in a palate expander, which accounts for growing teeth and helps shape the mouth correctly. In many ways, this process is easier when begun in childhood, because it becomes more difficult to expand the jaw once full-grown. This can help the child’s teeth grow in at better angles and with less crowding.
Invisalign First can also address other issues proactively, such as preventing dental crowding, correcting mild speech problems caused by the teeth, and correcting thumb-sucking habits.
Factors to consider before choosing Invisalign
Invisalign can be a great option for children who need orthodontic care. However, it’s not right for every child. Whether or not it’s right for your child will depend on your child’s maturity level and willingness to cooperate with the treatment plan.
Not all children have the discipline to wear Invisalign aligners regularly, which can delay or even prevent the results you hope to see. However, Invisalign does have built-in indicators that can let us know how often the aligners are actually being worn.
Invisalign can be a great alternative to traditional metal braces. If you want to see if they can help your child, book an appointment over the phone with Dental Art of South Bay today.