Many people think that braces are just for teenagers. But that’s not true: anyone can benefit from straighter, healthier teeth, and now with Invisalign, things have never been better. These clear aligners are appropriate for people of many ages, including teenagers and even children in some cases. At Bowman DMD at Fort Walton Beach, FL and Niceville, FL, we can help you learn if Invisalign is right for you or your child.
What Is the Right Age for Getting Invisalign?
The good news is there is no “right” age for treatment with this system. It’s flexible and can help people in nearly any stage of life. It is best, in most cases, for patients to have all their permanent teeth before starting treatment, so this means it’s most appropriate for those over 12 or 13 years old. However, some patients who need early intervention due to serious issues can benefit from this treatment in their Phase 1 orthodontic intervention.
Treatment for Children
Invisalign offers a special program to provide aligners for patients with small mouths and short tooth crowns. The system includes an Eruption Compensation feature that allows for the baby teeth to continue to fall out and permanent teeth to grow in, while still making adjustments. The technology provided for children offers all the same benefits that make this treatment so attractive to teens and adults, like no pain from wires in brackets, no special brushing and flossing techniques, and no food restrictions.
Extensive testing has proven that the system works well and can be used even in the youngest children, where appropriate. The American Dental Association guidelines suggest children should visit an orthodontist around age 7 in order to identify and address problems early to avoid the need for invasive treatment in later life. We can help you and your child find out if this treatment will be effective.
Treatment for Teens
Invisalign is a very popular treatment for teens because there’s no need to worry about baby teeth and because the aligners themselves are so suitable for the teenage lifestyle. In the teen years, most of us are building the self-esteem that we need to function well in adulthood and becoming confident in who we are. That’s what makes invisible aligners so good for teens: teens won’t have the same worries about being bullied or made fun of–or just plain standing out–that they might have with traditional braces.
But that’s not the only thing that makes this treatment appropriate for teens and their lifestyles. Many teens are involved in sports that can break traditional braces and even require emergency room visits to fix brackets and painful cuts from snapped wires. With invisible aligners, none of that is a problem anymore. And, teens can sometimes have a more difficult time than adults in avoiding certain foods, particularly under peer pressure, just because of their braces. With these aligners, teens have no food restrictions.
The one issue that teens often struggle with when it comes to invisible aligners is remembering to keep them in for 22 hours a day. Teens are busy and distracted, and it can be very easy to forget to reinsert the aligners after a meal or game. In every other way, invisible aligners are great for the teen lifestyle, so to deal with this one issue, the makers of Invisalign developed a special teen system. The aligners that teenagers wear have a special SmartTrack material that makes them easier to put on and keeps track of how long the teen is wearing their aligners. This lets the teen, and their parents, keep on top of things.
In addition, the teen system includes special tabs to accommodate erupting molars. There are also optional attachments that can improve the ability of the aligners to push the teeth into place and deal with more complex tooth movement issues.
Does It Really Work for Teens?
In the early years of invisible aligners, they were not always the best choice for anything other than the most simple of orthodontic issues. But things have changed and technology has advanced dramatically. Today, these aligners can address even moderate and complex cases. They can be used to deal with crooked teeth, underbites, overbites, tooth gaps, crossbites, tooth crowding, and more.
Treatment for Adults
It’s not uncommon for people to reach adulthood without having fully addressed their orthodontic issues, yet many adults are understandably reluctant to wear braces. For one thing, braces are typically associated with our more immature years, and some younger adults may fear that braces will keep others from taking them seriously. Braces can also be uncomfortable, and adult life can be uncomfortable enough already! For some people, their jobs simply preclude them from getting traditional braces. If you need to make presentations, are a public speaker, or play a contact sport professionally, traditional braces can be a real problem.
Invisible aligners are the perfect treatment for adults because they allow you to discreetly address those orthodontic issues that were ignored or missed in childhood. No one will know you were having your teeth treated because you won’t have visible wires and rubber bands and brackets. If you need to give a special presentation or have a social engagement, your aligners will be invisible, and you can even remove them briefly if necessary. And, treatment plans are often faster with aligners than they are with traditional braces.
The Benefits of Invisible Aligners
Whatever your age, these aligners have some amazing benefits that you should consider:
Learning to brush and floss traditional braces is a real art. With aligners, you don’t need to worry about any of that. You simply remove your aligners, gently clean them with a toothbrush and rinse them off, and then brush your teeth as normal.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for people with braces to develop more cavities, not because they were not trying to care well for their teeth but simply because doing so is much more difficult with all those wires and brackets in the way. You don’t have to worry about any of that with aligners.
There are other ways that aligners are much more convenient than braces. For one thing, you don’t have to avoid certain sports or activities when you wear aligners, and you also don’t have to come in constantly for adjustments at your orthodontics office.
No Diet Restrictions
No one likes being told what they can and can’t eat, at any age, and it’s particularly frustrating when you find that your dietary restrictions are going to go on for years. Consider just a few of the delicious foods those with traditional braces are not allowed to eat:
- Hard candy
- Pizza crusts
- Gummy candy
The list goes on. The problem is that the wires and brackets of traditional braces can be damaged by some foods, like sticky taffy, and can trap other food particles easily, which is why you can’t eat things like chips and popcorn. With aligners, all you have to do is remove the aligner before you eat and then brush your teeth prior to re-inserting it. There’s nothing that you can’t eat and no social events that you have to avoid.
Discomfort is a big issue with traditional braces. They can cut and irritate the mouth and can break suddenly, causing a lot of pain. The way they pull on the teeth can also be very painful, particularly after adjustments. With clear aligners, you can avoid all of that. Plus, you won’t be driving yourself or your child to the emergency room in order to deal with a broken bracket or wire after a sporting event or from someone eating the wrong food.
No Lowered Quality of Life
The research is clear: those who have smiles they’re happy with have better self-esteem, feel more comfortable in social settings, and perform at their best in professional environments. And the benefits aren’t just internal. Research shows that 73% of people tend to consider a person more trustworthy if their teeth are straight.
Knowing all that, you can understand how significant it is that Invisalign boasts a whopping 96% satisfaction rate among patients of every age. The way the system works minimizes any risk of errors and speeds up the process, allowing you to see the final results more quickly than with braces: and through a treatment that’s more comfortable in every way.
A Treatment That’s Right for All Ages
This convenient treatment is suitable for most people, and we’d love to tell you more. Whether you’re looking for yourself or want to provide your child with the best possible treatment, and future, contact us at Bowman DMD at Fort Walton Beach, FL and Niceville, FL to get started.