Should My Teen Get Invisalign or Braces?

We hear this question at Markham Orthodontics a lot. With the growing popularity of Invisalign, many teens and parents are eager to find out whether they can avoid the hassles of traditional braces. Invisalign lets you shift the position of your teeth without the appearance of metal in your smile and without dietary restrictions. However, Invisalign isn’t right for every teen.

Do you want to learn more about Invisalign or braces, Sacramento CA, for your child? Visit Markham Orthodontics and we’ll assess your child’s alignment issues. Call us today at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.

Physical Requirements for Invisalign

Invisalign is not meant to be used on patients whose jaws and faces are still growing. If your child’s face and jaw are mostly grown, he or she may qualify for Invisalign treatment. However, Invisalign cannot correct the wide range of alignment issues that traditional braces can. It is best for mild-to-moderate malocclusion or crowding, and it cannot correct bite issues. This means that only traditional braces can deal with an overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite. Invisalign also can’t move teeth vertically or rotate the teeth.

When you bring your teen into Markham Orthodontics, we will assess his/her alignment issues and growth. We will provide you with a write-up that explains any potential problems that need to be corrected. If you are interested in Invisalign for your child, we will explain the physical factors that inform such a determination and how they relate to your child’s case.

Compliance and Oral Hygiene

Beyond the physical factors—and perhaps more importantly—is the issue of compliance. A teen that starts a course of orthodontic treatment with Invisalign needs to be extremely motivated to change his or her smile. If the patient is only marginally on board, you may run into compliance problems.

The transition to Invisalign requires several significant changes to one’s routine. The aligners need to be worn for most of the hours of the day (20-22 hours) in order to be effective. Food must only be consumed at strict meal times and the teeth must be brushed and flossed before the aligners are replaced in the mouth. There is no eating or drinking when wearing Invisalign aligners, except plain water. If your child has a snacking habit that’s hard to kick, this may lead to problems.

Additionally, Invisalign must be worn when the child sleeps at night. If a teenager cannot adjust to sleeping with the aligners, he or she should not wear Invisalign.

Candidacy for Invisalign

If a teen wears Invisalign without following the basic guidelines, they may wind up with an ineffective treatment (at best) or rapid tooth decay (at worst). For example, if a child briefly removes the aligners to drink a soda or eat a donut without brushing the teeth before replacing the aligners, he or she will be at risk of developing new cavities. Ordinarily, our teeth are in constant contact with our saliva, which neutralizes bacterial acids and rinses food and drinks residues from the teeth. When you wear Invisalign aligners, the teeth do not get the benefit of saliva contact, so any food or drink residues left on the teeth may cause decay or staining.

If your child is a good candidate for Invisalign, you’ll need to have a serious talk and let him or her make the final call on whether he/she is willing to adapt to the necessary changes of routine. If your child already struggles with oral hygiene and independently makes healthy choices, he or she may not be mature enough to wear Invisalign aligners.

To find out more about whether your child should wear Invisalign or braces, in Sacramento CA contact Markham Orthodontics. We’ll help you determine whether your teen is better suited to Invisalign or traditional braces. Contact us today at (916) 924-8970 to make an appointment.