When you think of teenagers having orthodontic treatment you probably think of fixed metal “train-track” braces. But Invisalign is becoming an increasingly popular choice for children and teens, and in certain situations, Invisalign may in fact be preferable.
At Tunbridge Wells Orthodontics we are seeing more and more families coming in enquiring about Invisalign for their children, and Invisalign is proving an extremely effective appliance for teeth straightening and bite correction, when used in the right situations.
Invisalign have 2 different products that are designed specifically for use with children. Invisalign First is an option aimed at younger children aged 6-10 and is used for shorter interceptive treatments such as fixing a crossbite. With this option, further orthodontic treatment is usually required a few years later.
Invisalign Teen is another product aimed specifically at older children and is used for full treatment plans. The main difference with this product compared to their standard products is the allowance it makes for teeth that have not yet fully erupted into the mouth. It also includes some concessions for lost aligners.
Why choose Invisalign for you children?
Aesthetically, Invisalign aligners are far superior to fixed braces. They are not completely invisible, but most people will not notice if someone is wearing Invisalign. The appearance of metal can be off putting for many, and some children will refuse orthodontic correction because they are worried about the appearance of traditional braces, and the effect it may have on them socially.
Eating and breakages
When we use fixed braces, you are given a list of foods to avoid. Food that are too crunchy, or sticky will inevitably lead to breakages. Breakages are a huge inconvenience to patients, because extra unscheduled appointments are required, and it can significantly slow down treatment progress. In contrast, Invisalign aligners are removed for eating. This means children are free to eat whatever they want without having to worry about breaking the braces. As a result, unscheduled emergency appointments are rare.
It is also important to consider the time and effort required to clean around a fixed braces. There are many nooks and crannies to work into with an array of tooth cleaning aids. Invisalign aligners are removed for cleaning, so a normal oral hygiene routing with a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss is sufficient. That could mean an extra 2 minutes in bed each morning, which most teenagers would be very grateful for!
Reasons not to choose Invisalign for your child
Quite simply, if the Invisalign aligners are not worn for at least 20 hours every single day, they are unlikely to work. If you are worried your child may leave the aligners out at school, or may be prone to loosing or breaking them, Invisalign may not be the right choice of appliance.
The cost of Invisalign is comparable to fixed braces and may even be cheaper. In the UK, some children are eligible for free NHS orthodontic treatment. If you choose to go down this route, Invisalign is not an option available to NHS orthodontic providers.
Invisalign works in a slightly different way to a fixed brace, and there are certain types of tooth movement that are harder to achieve with Invisalign. That being said, our specialist orthodontist has extensive experience in Invisalign, and can use Invisalign for complex cases, in combination with partial fixed braces to do the tooth movements that Invisalign might struggle with.
Can Invisalign fix overbites in children?
Invisalign can be used to fixed overbites in children. It is easy to add some little buttons to some of the teeth that elastics bands can be attached to. For more severe overbites, Invisalign offer a feature called Invisalign with mandibular advancement. This option includes some little wings added to the side of the aligners which encourage forward posturing of the lower jaw. This then becomes a type of function appliance like Twin Blocks or Forsus Springs.
Overbite correction in children using Invisalign is a more advanced treatment option, and we would strongly recommend seeing a registered specialist in orthodontics if this is something you are interested in.
At What age can a child get Invisalign?
The timing of Invisalign is no different to fixed braces. Most orthodontic problems can wait until a child is ready for their full course treatment, usually around the age of 11-14.
Occasionally, younger children are recommended treatment for issues that may lead to damage of the teeth or gums if left until the teenage years. A good example of this would be an anterior crossbite, where the top front tooth bites behind the lower front tooth. This can lead to tooth wear and gum recession if left unresolved. These can be fixed as soon as the adult incisors erupt, usually around the age of 7 or 8.
Teenagers of any age can have Invisalign treatment, but certain complications, such as overbites and deep bites, need to be corrected while the child is actively growing. If you or your dentist suspect your child has an overbite or crossbite, or indeed any other orthodontic problem, we would recommend coming to see a specialist orthodontist pre-adolescence (aged 10-12).
Is Invisalign better than braces?
Teeth move when a force is applied, causing a biological reaction in the surrounding bone and gums. It is important to remember that the tooth has absolutely no understanding of what appliance is producing that force. It might be a metal brace, Invisalign, a Twin Block or even a thumb in the case of thumb suckers. The point here is that to stress that no teeth straightening system, no matter how slick their marketing may seem, is responsible for correcting crooked teeth or overbites. They are simply tools available to your dentist or orthodontist to apply forces to teeth, and each comes with its own list of advantages and disadvantages.
It is therefore extremely important that you choose a clinician you feel confident with, that has sufficient training, knowledge and experience to resolve your child’s orthodontic problems. There are many systems that may promise the world, but ultimately the quality of the result comes down to the clinician that is using the system.
We will be delighted to see you at Tunbridge Wells Orthodontics where out specialist orthodontist will be delighted to provide you with a free consultation where we will discuss your suitability for Invisalign, so get in touch today.Back to blog