Braces can be a great way to correct dental issues. That said, the older a patient gets the less appealing braces tend to be, as they can make a patient feel self-conscious about their smile. Invisalign can offer corrective power without the metal brackets. Among other reasons, this is why our team at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, is pleased to offer this discreet and effective alternative.
What Is the Right Age To Get Invisalign?
A Great Option for a Wide Range of Ages
Invisalign is a proven way to correct smiles for patients who don’t want visible braces. The powerful 3D computer imaging technology used for this treatment gives us the ability to customize it for patients of various ages. Adults who didn’t get braces as kids and don’t want them now are often great candidates for this treatment.
How About Kids?
Kids of a certain age are less likely to be bothered by braces if they see their peers also getting them. However, older kids tend to be less excited by the concept of customizing their elastics, and more anxious about braces making them stand out and altering their appearance. For that reason, clear aligners can be a good option for older kids in particular.
If you are interested in exploring this treatment option for your child, we would be happy to talk about their dental needs and whether this or another treatment would be the best choice for them. One reason we offer a range of options is so we can help as many patients as possible, so feel free to come in with lots of questions and we will do our best to find you the right treatment!
Treatment Timeline for Kids
This Invisalign treatment is actually a series. The patient will start off with a set of clear aligners that they’ll wear for about two weeks before they switch to the next set. Each time the patient progresses, their teeth will be getting closer and closer to the end goal until they reach the end of their series. Braces, on the other hand, are set in place and adjusted as needed to guide the patient’s teeth into a more correct position.
In general, Invisalign can usually be completed in a year. Depending on individual factors, some patients may need more time while others need less. Kids generally wear braces for 18 months or more, so it could be a longer treatment process. That can make clear aligners an appealing option for parents who want to make the treatment as easy as possible for their kids.
As you consider this treatment for your kid, it’s important to consider whether they’re ready for the responsibility of taking care of their aligners. The fact that these aligners can be removed is one of their best benefits. It allows patients to eat whatever they want and brush and floss without having to work around brackets and elastics. That said, the removability factor can also be a challenge for younger patients.
If your child tends to misplace things, braces may be the better option for them. Your child will also need to be old enough to understand that they should wear their aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day for them to work the way they’re supposed to. If your child is old enough to keep their aligners in a safe and consistent location and wear them as often as they should, they could be a good candidate.
Most parents know that getting their kids to consistently brush and floss their teeth can be a challenge. Since brushing and flossing around braces tends to take more time, this can lead to kids cutting corners with their dental hygiene.
Using aligners instead of braces can help kids stay on top of their oral health by making their job a bit easier. This can make the parent’s job a little easier too, since they may not have to pester their kid quite as much about brushing and flossing.
The Benefits of Aligners
Shorten Necessary Treatments
Now that we’ve taken a look at how this treatment can be a good fit for patients of various ages, it’s time to take a closer look at the general benefits clear aligners have to offer. Something patients may find useful is using aligners as part of a combination treatment.
Some patients with severe dental concerns may benefit from braces, at least at the start. However, we may be able to shorten the amount of time you spend with your braces by finishing off the treatment process with aligners. If this idea interests you, we can talk about it during a consultation and let you know if this could be a good option.
No Dietary Changes
We’ve talked about how Invisalign can be removed, and how that allows patients to eat whatever they’d like. Besides patients getting to enjoy their favorite snacks, this can be a very real benefit for patients with dietary limitations.
Patients who already have to avoid certain foods may dread having to cut even more options out of their diet when they get braces. With aligners, you don’t have to worry about losing more dietary options. This can make it easier for patients to balance their diet properly.
Great for Active Patients
Most braces are designed to be pretty hardy; they have to be in order to safely adjust your teeth. That said, there can be a bit of extra concern when it comes to patients with braces enjoying physical activities like sports.
While mouth protection is always a good idea, clear aligners don’t have any brackets or wires to damage. That doesn’t mean aligners are indestructible, but they do tend to be a great fit for patients who participate in sports or other similar activities.
Patients who are using clear aligners don’t usually have to come into the office as often as patients with braces. When patients with aligners do come in so we can check on their progress, the appointments tend to be shorter and easier. This can save the patient time and make scheduling your appointments more convenient. In a world where everyone tends to be very busy, this can be a definite benefit.
This is often the benefit that seals the deal for our patients. This is a treatment that combines corrective power with excellent discretion. Whether you have an upcoming event, don’t want to stand out at work, or don’t want braces to show up in your pictures, Invisalign can be a great way to get the results you want while still feeling confident about your smile.
Aligners can be a good choice for patients who have sensitive mouths. The material is made of smooth plastic that should rest comfortably over your teeth. This can also make aligners easier for patients to adjust to, which could help them get a more consistent night’s sleep when compared to other treatment options.
As for future comfort, correcting misaligned teeth has a lot of benefits in this area. Misaligned teeth can contribute to chronic headaches, jaw pain, and sleeping issues. Protruding teeth can put a patient at a higher risk of receiving a mouth injury, especially if they play sports. Correcting these concerns can help support your well-being over the long run.
Help Prevent Worse Issues
This can be especially true for younger patients. Sometimes parents will see a dental issue developing and hope that their kid grows out of it. Unfortunately, the opposite is more likely to happen. If your child has tooth alignment issues, it’s likely to get worse when their wisdom teeth start coming in.
By being proactive, you can help make your child’s treatment easier in the long run. Clear aligners are a gentle and convenient way to help correct concerns before they get worse.
Protect Your Health
If you’re living with misaligned teeth, you are probably familiar with many of the challenges they can present. For one thing, they are often more difficult to clean. You can be extremely proactive about brushing and flossing, but tightly packed or overlapping teeth will create spaces that are almost impossible to get clean without professional tools.
A dentist will have helpful tools to get these teeth as clean as possible. Even then, the cleanings may be less thorough than they could be if the teeth were easier to access. That can put a patient at more risk for developing issues like gingivitis, or cavities and decay. Healthy teeth are better for the whole body, so correcting issues and improving oral hygiene can help keep you healthier on multiple fronts.
Smile With Confidence
Ultimately the best way to know if this invisalign treatment is a good fit is to come in for a consultation. We recognize that each patient is unique. We will be able to help you decide if this, or one of our various other treatments could be the most effective option for your needs. Reach out to our helpful team at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, today to schedule your consultation!