Orthodontic Care Without the Awkward Stage

Traditional metal braces can seem, well, awkward and uncomfortable for teens who are at a time in their lives when they feel quite self-conscious of how they look. Although braces are undoubtedly a very effective orthodontic treatment option, they aren’t the only treatment option available. Invisalign for teens is a popular alternative that can help them get a straight smile discreetly and often more quickly.

Here’s what you and your teen should know about Invisalign.

Why Orthodontic Care is Important

Before diving into what you should know about Invisalign, let’s take a moment to go over why orthodontic care as a whole is important.

Having crooked teeth isn’t a bad thing, and it doesn’t mean your smile is ugly or unattractive, but it can cause problems. Teeth that are crooked and crowded causes little nooks and crannies to form around the teeth, especially up near the gums. These pockets tend to trap food debris and develop plaque build-up quickly. It can also be hard to reach these spots with floss or a toothbrush.

By getting orthodontic care, you’re actually doing more than just making your teeth look straight, you’re also helping them stay healthy. Teeth that are straight are easier to care for, which means your at-home dental care routine will pay off even more by lowering your risk of cavities. Think of the aesthetic benefit of straight teeth as an added bonus!

How Invisalign for Teens Works

Invisalign for teens works just like standard Invisalign for adults. Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that involves clear aligners that resemble mouthguards. These clear aligners pop over the teeth and fit very snugly. Some teens may have SmartForce attachments placed on their teeth to help keep the aligners properly adjusted. These are very small and tooth-like in color to help match the subtle aesthetic of Invisalign.

Invisalign aligners come in a set of anywhere from 14 to 30 or more, with 20 to 25 being typical. Your smile may need more or fewer depending on the severity of your malocclusion (bite). Total treatment time is generally about 12 to 18 months, but if your teeth are only mildly or moderately crooked, you could be done in as few as six months.

Once your Invisalign treatment is complete, you will need to wear a retainer, just like you would with braces. This ensures your teeth don’t try to migrate back to their former position as your jaw matures and continues to develop.

What Invisalign Treatment Is Like

Invisalign treatment is pretty easy, but there are still a few things you should know.

During your first appointment with your dentist, you’ll have some X-rays and 3D digital images taken of your smile. These images and digital models will be sent to an Invisalign lab to design your unique series of clear aligners. Once these have been made, you’ll visit your dentist again to receive your first set.

After you have your first set of clear aligners, you might find that your teeth feel a little funny. Unlike a mouthguard-type oral appliance like you might have worn before, Invisalign aligners fit much tighter on the teeth. A little tenderness or discomfort is normal, but this usually goes away after a day or two. You might also experience this feeling again when you move up to the next set.

You’ll wear your aligners for about two weeks before moving to the next set, only removing them when you eat, drink anything aside from water, or when you brush and floss your teeth.

It’s extremely important to:

  • Always remove your aligners before eating.
  • Never skip twice-daily brushing and daily flossing.
  • Clean your teeth before replacing your aligners.
  • Wear your aligners for a minimum of 20 hours a day, with 22 hours being ideal and what you should shoot for.

When Invisalign Isn’t the Best Choice

Invisalign can treat a wide range of different malocclusions, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t the best choice in every case. Certain issues, like tilted teeth or very small teeth, can make Invisalign impossible to use or, at the very least, ineffective. Only your dentist will be able to tell if your smile can be straightened effectively with Invisalign.

Finding out Invisalign might not be the right choice can be a bummer, but remember, your oral health is the priority. If you do need to wear braces, you’ll get used to them quicker than you realize, and after breezing through treatment, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful, straight smile.

Invisalign for Teens at Berrien Dental

If your teen is interested in getting Invisalign instead of braces, the first step is to schedule a consultation.

During your teen’s consultation, their dentist will examine their teeth, take a look at their X-rays, and determine if the malocclusion that’s present can be effectively treated with Invisalign. As a parent, you’ll be able to learn more about this orthodontic treatment option and ask questions. Your teen will also learn more about Invisalign and what they can expect.

You can schedule your teen’s Invisalign consultation today by calling our St. Joseph or Berrien Springs, MI, office and by requesting a visit online.