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Written by Dr. Chaw Su Kyi on July 14, 2023
Along with the many physical and psychological changes a teenager experiences, their jaws and teeth rapidly grow. As your teenager’s facial structure changes, orthodontic issues become more apparent. Overcrowded, misaligned, and gappy smiles are difficult to clean, leading to an increased risk of tooth decay and infection.
Invisalign® Teen is a clear removable aligner system that exerts constant gentle pressure to straighten teeth. This popular alternative to traditional braces is loved by patients and trusted by dentists worldwide.
If you’re the parent of a teenager with orthodontic issues, it is natural to want to know more about the potential treatment options.
Read on to learn the answers to your questions about Invisalign® Teen.
Invisalign® is suitable for teenagers and is frequently used to treat most orthodontic problems. In fact, many teenagers prefer Invisalign® because clear aligners have less impact on their lifestyle.
The primary benefits of Invisalign® for teenagers are the discreet nature of the treatment coupled with the fact the aligners are removable, making brushing straightforward and mealtimes easier to navigate.
The clear aligners are made from a patented translucent medical-grade plastic called SmartTrack. While the plastic is specifically designed to put pressure on the teeth, it’s also virtually invisible, meaning your teenager can continue smiling throughout treatment without feeling self-conscious about wearing a more visible appliance.
The Invisalign® system helps in many cases; however, more complex malocclusions may require fixed braces or a combination of treatments. These cases might include severe bite issues or misalignments that require significant tooth movements. Generally, wearing Invisalign® aligners is as effective as traditional metal braces.
Knowing the best age to start treatment is important. You may wonder whether it is better to start treatment early to address alignment issues before they worsen or wait until your child’s teeth and jaws are fully developed.
You should seek an orthodontic assessment as early as possible. We also offer Invisalign® First, a phase one orthodontic treatment for children aged seven to ten. The benefit of early treatment is it improves the size and shape of the dental arch and helps guide adult teeth as they form, preparing your child for a lifetime of good oral health.
That said, it is never too late to seek treatment, and it is a myth that Invisalign® is just for younger teens. We enjoy great success treating patients in their late teens and adults of all ages.
The success of Invisalign®’s removable aligners depends on proper diagnosis. Before starting treatment, we will perform a thorough smile assessment. This will help us gauge how effective Invisalign® Teen will be.
A professional orthodontic assessment is vital as it helps ensure your child gets the right treatment for them.
Teeth straightening works by applying a measured and constant gentle pressure to the teeth so a desired movement gradually occurs. Invisalign® is no different to wearing braces in this respect; however, there are some fundamental differences between the treatment options.
Invisalign® uses a series of bespoke aligners. The specially-designed clear aligners create a force which gradually moves the teeth. Fixed metal braces use tension along a metal wire to create the same tooth movement.
During Invisalign® treatment, we change the aligner approximately every two weeks. Although each replacement aligner may look like the last, there is a slight difference. Over time, the subtle changes add up to significant improvements in the position of the teeth.
Traditional braces require regular adjustments. By tightening the brace’s wire, we can progress tooth movement. Invisalign® Teen does not involve physical adjustments. This reduces the number and length of appointments.
Traditional metal braces use fixed brackets and wires to straighten teeth. While they are very effective, food debris can easily become trapped in the brace. This poses challenges in terms of oral hygiene. Without careful and thorough brushing, your child is at an increased risk of developing tooth decay and bad breath. Additionally, certain foods are prone to getting trapped under the brace’s wire, while others may cause damage.
Invisalign® Teen is convenient. Because the aligners are removable, it means they can be taken out at meal times, meaning your teenage child does not need to alter their diet. Removing the aligners means there is less debris, and bacteria will not build up.
Cleaning Invisalign® aligners is easy. The aligner can be easily removed and cleaned, leaving no barriers to thorough brushing. To clean the aligner, simply use a soft toothbrush and liquid soap and rinse it under lukewarm water. Aligners will need cleaning at least twice daily.
For many teenagers, looks are important. Even the most self-conscious teenager can wear Invisalign® aligners without it impacting their natural appearance. The discreet clear plastic aligner is barely visible, so the treatment can enhance your child’s smile without obstructing it.
Teenagers are often very active. While wearing fixed braces, it is often advisable to wear a sports mouthguard, particularly if there is a risk of impact. Due to the design of Invisalign®, your child can participate in most sporting activities while wearing their aligner.
Invisalign® is suitable for all ages. In fact, we offer Invisalign® First which is suitable for children as young as seven years of age. We enjoy fantastic success treating younger teenagers as their teeth and jaws are still developing.
When treating someone in their early teens, they may still have some of their baby teeth. That said, some children lose all of their baby teeth by the age of ten. Another factor we need to consider is the type of malocclusion a child has.
Before treatment, we must carry out a full consultation. Proper assessment and planning are essential to the success of any clear aligner treatment.
When choosing the right orthodontic treatment for your child, cost will factor into your decision. Invisalign® Teen starts at £3500. The exact cost will depend on the extent of the required treatment.
Treatment with Invisalign® is cost-effective compared with alternative options like lingual, Clarity, and Damon braces.
At West London Orthodontics, we offer simple payment and finance options for your child’s treatment. You can choose to pay in full or in interest-free monthly instalments.
For monthly payments, we’ll need an initial deposit, and the remaining balance is paid over the next 12 months.
While NHS orthodontic treatment is available to some teenagers under 18, Invisalign® Teen is not an option. Instead, fixed braces are used. NHS treatments follow the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), and children must meet the necessary criteria, and only the most severe cases will receive free treatment.
If you are considering fixed braces on the NHS, you must factor in waiting times. There is often a waiting period of up to two years for treatment. As your child may be sitting important GCSE or A-Level exams around this time, attending multiple appointments could be disruptive. In some cases, your child may not receive their free treatment until their late teens and may still have to wear their fixed brace when they go to university or start their first job.
As with any treatment, there are potential challenges that could affect Invisalign® Teen’s outcome. The challenges include your child not wearing their aligner as instructed, damage to the aligner, and problems with adjusting to wearing the aligner during daily activities.
To achieve the predicted outcomes from Invisalign® Teen, your child must wear their aligner for around 22 hours a day. Although they can take their aligner out to eat, drink, and brush their teeth, if they remove their aligner for prolonged periods, it will reduce effectiveness. It is vital that your child gets into good habits early and wears their aligner as directed.
If your child damages or loses their aligner, this can prolong or impact the effectiveness of their treatment. In these instances, it is important to contact us promptly for advice. Stopping wearing an aligner mid-treatment can cause teeth to return to their previous positions.
Your child may have difficulty adapting to wearing their aligner. Although Invisalign® is comfortable and discreet, some teenagers experience challenges getting used to having it in their mouths.
It can take a few days for a child to feel comfortable wearing their aligner. Until then, it is important to wear it as directed. If your child is still struggling, you should seek advice from our team.
During your child’s treatment, we will need to assess their progress. To do this, we will see them regularly throughout treatment.
Routine checkups are an opportunity for your and your child to ask us any questions. Ongoing support from an orthodontist is important for the success of your child’s treatment.
Invisalign® Teen is an effective solution for many orthodontic problems. These comfortable, clear aligners are comfortable and discreet, allowing your child to receive treatment without impacting their active life.
Dr Chaw Su Kyi is one of the UK’s leading specialist orthodontists. She has a broad range of experience delivering exceptional treatments to teenagers. With her expertise, your child’s dental future is in good hands.
Get in touch today to schedule your child’s Invisalign® Teen assessment.
West London Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Serving patients in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush, and Chiswick, Dr Kyi and her team specialise in various brace options, including Invisalign. Book a consultation today.