Proms, a driver's license and braces to straighten the teeth – these all seem to be part and parcel of the average teenager's life. While about half of all teens attend senior prom and around 71 percent get a driver's license as soon as they can, closer to 80 percent receive care from an orthodontist. Today’s teens have many more options for orthodontic treatment than their parents did, and one that many choose is Invisalign. Here are the top 5 reasons to choose Invisalign for teens.
You might be wondering, why Invisalign for teens – what makes it different? The Invisalign system is unique in that it consists of a series of clear plastic aligners that fit over the teeth. The aligners are made from molds of your teeth, created from computer-generated patterns that shape each aligner slightly differently. Each aligner puts pressure on the various teeth to move them into a new position. Every two or three weeks, you change to a new aligner.
Conventional braces are made of wire (usually stainless steel) brackets. The brackets are applied to individual teeth and remain in place for the duration of the treatment. Wires are attached to the brackets and periodically adjusted to move the teeth into position. Elastic bands are also part of this treatment. The combination of hardware and elastic bands is highly visible. The Invisalign aligners, however, are completely transparent and close-fitting. Most people will be completely unaware you are wearing them.
The Invisalign aligners are made from smooth plastic. Unlike metal brackets and wires, the aligners have no sharp points that can rub on the gums or teeth. The aligners also take up less space in the mouth. Conventional metal braces are adjusted by applying pressure to tighten the wires or by using smaller elastics to put pressure on the teeth. These adjustments often result in discomfort for a day or two after the braces have been adjusted. With Invisalign, you wear the same aligner for several weeks, then put in a new aligner. The amount of pressure on the teeth is well distributed and typically much less uncomfortable compared to metal braces.
Invisalign is a removable dental brace system. This may be its greatest benefit from a teen's perspective. Conventional braces require strict attention to oral hygiene, because the metal wires and brackets make great traps for food particles. It's particularly difficult to floss, as the floss can get caught on brackets or break. With Invisalign, oral hygiene is easy, because the aligner can be removed to floss or brush. Senior pictures? Prom night? Simply remove the aligner for a few hours. The aligner can also be removed – in fact it must be removed – in order to eat.
No Dietary Restrictions
If removability is number one on a teen's list, the fact that Invisalign doesn't require any dietary restrictions may come in second. With conventional braces, there are a number of foods that are off limits. Hard candies and popcorn are likely to break wires or brackets. Toffee and other sticky foods like peanut butter stick to the metal and increase the risk of tooth decay. Invisalign's removable aligners allow teens to eat whatever they want – although remember a healthy diet is best for both oral and general health.
Time and Expense
This advantage may be lower on the average teen's list than that of their parents. Since Invisalign doesn't have to be adjusted every couple of weeks like conventional braces, fewer orthodontic appointments are necessary. Many teens who use an Invisalign aligner go in only every six weeks. The actual cost of the Invisalign (like conventional braces) varies according to the severity of the orthodontic problems and length of treatment. However, Invisalign is certainly comparable to conventional braces in terms of cost and in some cases may be less expensive.
If you have orthodontic problems, it's best to correct them in your teens. The Invisalign system allows you to do so without making a lot of changes or restricting your day-to-day activities. Contact an orthodontist for an evaluation to see if orthodontia and Invisalign are right for you.