Invisalign Teen

The Invisalign brace is fast becoming a popular choice of brace for patients who don’t want the metal and wire device. We know that braces work best for children and teenagers which leads us to assume that the Invisalign system is a good choice for them.

But, this is not necessarily the case.

Unfortunately, there are many orthodontists who don’t recommend the Invisalign system to teenagers. Why?

The ‘issue’ is to do with wearing the brace rather than the actual brace itself. It’s not to do with the design or fit of the brace rather it’s a case of ‘self-discipline’. In other words, teenagers are less disciplined at wearing the brace and following the orthodontist’s instructions.

So, what is it about teenagers and braces?

Teenagers and Invisalign braces

Teenagers are at that difficult stage in their lives where image is all important. They are extremely self-conscious about their appearance and will often compare themselves to their friends as well as pictures of models, film stars and celebrities.

We know that teenagers like to be independent and do ‘their own thing’. So, as you can imagine, telling a teenager that they need a brace and one that possibly looks like a ‘train track’ is not going to fill them with enthusiasm!

The traditional metal brace doesn’t look good but is very effective at straightening crooked teeth. However, this doesn’t appeal to teenagers who are concerned with the ‘aesthetic’ aspects.

But, technology has advanced and there are new types of braces which are comfortable, easy to wear and most importantly, are difficult to notice. For teenagers, the more unobtrusive the better!

This is where the Invisalign system comes in. A see-through, removable brace is the answer to these issues. It is easy to look after and because it is made of a clear plastic material, is comfortable and virtually unnoticeable.

Why are dentists reluctant to recommend this to teenagers?

As we mentioned earlier: teenagers are notorious at doing what they want irrespective of whether it is good for them or not. If they feel that they ‘have’ to wear a brace then the chances are that they will avoid doing so.

Orthodontists are all too aware of this and so don’t recommend Invisalign braces to teenagers.

An orthodontist is focussed upon what will work best for you. He or she wants you to get the very best treatment and results but this means a level of responsibility from you. As this brace is removable it means that you must follow a daily cleaning routine but, you must also ensure that you wear this brace for 22 hours a day.

An adult might not find that too onerous but a teenager will balk at this as well as feeling self-conscious about doing so. The orthodontist cannot check 24 hours a day to see if you are wearing the brace so has to trust that you will do so.

This is not a problem with a fixed brace but with a removable brace there is the opportunity to ‘misplace’ it or to ‘forget’ to wear it altogether.

The problem with this is that it can lengthen the treatment time or may not move the teeth enough to suit the orthodontist’s requirements. If this is the case then the orthodontist may recommend a fixed brace after all.

Is there a way of dealing with this?

Yes there is. The Invisalign Teen system combines the features of the standard Invisalign brace but with a few extras that are specifically aimed at teenagers.

This includes a few additions which make it easier for the teenager to monitor the progress of their treatment.

These new features include:

  • FREE replacement aligners: if a teenager loses their brace then they can receive a free replacement. This means that they don’t have to wait for a replacement which means no loss in treatment time.
  • Special marker tabs: every aligner contains a marker tab which changes colour over time. This will show the progress of the treatment as well as proof of wear for the orthodontist.

This is especially useful for notifying teenagers when they have to change their aligners every 2 weeks.

The aim of these two features is to encourage the teenager to wear the brace and complete their treatment in the designated time. No one likes the thought of a brace so it may be better to get the treatment over with as soon as possible rather than having it ‘drag on’ over a long period of time.

Please bear in mind that the Invisalign brace is not suitable for all occlusal problems. It is ideal for minor level problems but more serious ones will require a conventional type of brace.

What is the procedure?

The procedure is much the same as the one for the standard Invisalign system which includes a full consultation, diagnostic
x-rays, the creation of a cast of the patient’s teeth which is used as a blueprint for the brace and the aligners themselves.

It is a highly personalised form of treatment which can take on average, a year to complete. Patients will find that they need to change their aligners every fortnight.

Once the brace is fitted teenagers will find that it doesn’t impact upon their lifestyle in anyway or form. If they are sporty or lead an active lifestyle then they can continue to do so. This brace is hardly noticeable plus it is so comfortable which means that they will forget that they are wearing it.

This sounds great are there any disadvantages?

The only ‘disadvantage’ is that the patient can interfere with the treatment process which will impact upon the final result. If the brace isn’t worn on a regular basis then realignment will not fully take place which will increase the treatment time.

However, this system does have a couple of ‘safeguards’ in place which can help the teenager to follow the treatment process through to the end.

Ultimately, it will be the orthodontist who will decide if the teenager is both mature and committed to the treatment process. If not, then a fixed brace might be better alternative.

What does it cost?

The costs are pretty much the same as for the conventional Invisalign system. As a general guide you can be looking at paying £3,000 or more for this treatment.

This may seem a bit steep but bear in mind that it is a personalised form of treatment, using state of the art technology which is also quicker than other types of braces.

Plus the long term results will hopefully, outweigh the initial costs.

If Invisalign Teen is not an option then there are other types of braces such as Invu braces, 6 month braces, Damon braces, Lingual braces and Inman Aligners.

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