Why Invisalign Isn’t Always Suitable for Teens & Children

When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there is no one size fits all solution. As every patient will present with unique irregularities, each individual will require a personalised treatment plan that caters to their specific needs.

In recent years, Invisalign (invisible aligners) has become a highly sought-after teeth straightening solution. With a subtle look and the flexibility to remove the braces as needed, it tends to be preferred to traditional metal or clear braces.

While Invisalign does come with its benefits, it’s not always appropriate for use on all patients. It all depends on the individual and what needs to be corrected.

Before investing in Invisalign braces for your child, it’s important to understand how the treatment works and why it may it not be a suitable choice.

How Do Invisalign Braces Work?

Similar to a mouth retainer, Invisalign braces are clear, plastic aligners that slip over the teeth. Unlike retainers that are generally used overnight once traditional braces have been removed, Invisalign is worn throughout the entire duration of the teeth straightening process. To be effective, the invisible braces must remain in place at all times and should only be removed for eating, drinking and toothbrushing.

Invisalign braces are made from a 3D model of the patient’s mouth that is based off various scans, x-rays and photos. Using specialist software, an orthodontist will map out how each tooth will need to move to obtain the ideal final position. The Invisalign company will then use these models to manufacture a series of aligners that will gradually reposition the teeth over time.

Treat Mild Orthodontic Issues

No matter how old you may be, your teeth will continue to move and shift throughout your lifetime. Invisalign essentially guides that movement through aligners that are replaced every few weeks. Traditional braces, on the other hand, apply pressure to the teeth, causing each tooth to move and the bone to change shape over time.

It really does depend on the individual, but as a general rule, invisible braces can be suitable for the correction of mild orthodontic issues. When it comes to more severe problems, however, it’s less likely that a patient will be a candidate for Invisalign treatment.

Growth Can Affect Results

While traditional braces are adjusted in line with jaw and bone growth, Invisalign requires the orthodontist to predict what that growth will look like. For teenagers and younger children especially, this does leave some room for error.

Invisible braces are manufactured in advance based on the assumption that the teeth will adapt in a certain way. However, unexpected growth patterns could affect the movement of teeth, making it difficult to set the teeth back on course.

There’s only so much that a specialist can do to map out future growth, which is why Invisalign is often not an appropriate choice for younger patients.

More Responsibility Required

All orthodontic treatments require the patient to fulfil certain responsibilities to maintain progress and ensure the best results. The success of Invisalign is dependent on the patient keeping the aligners in place as often as possible.

As Invisalign braces are removable, there’s a high chance that a child could take their aligners out more often than permitted or forget to put them back in after eating. Younger children could easily misplace or lose their braces, and there’s even a chance of causing damage to the teeth from misuse.

Maturity and self-discipline are key when it comes to using Invisalign treatments, otherwise progress will be slowed and potentially even reversed.

Common Misconceptions About Invisalign

There are many reasons why parents often believe that invisible braces will be a better option for their child. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign does not come with any dietary restrictions and is far less likely to cause teenagers to feel self-conscious. While these are all valid concerns, they are primarily based on common misconceptions. Here are some of the perceived benefits of Invisalign that can also be achieved by using traditional braces.

Invisible Braces Are Less Obtrusive

When comparing invisible braces to metal braces with colourful brackets and rubber bands, it’s easy to see that Invisalign provides a far more subtle solution. However, if you’re wanting a more understated look that is less likely to draw attention, your child can opt for clear braces instead.

Clear braces function in much the same way as metal braces, the only real difference being the use of ceramic materials. As the brackets can be designed to blend in with the colour of the teeth, clear braces are very similar to Invisalign from a purely aesthetic point of view.

Invisalign Braces Are More Hygienic

Oral hygiene is very important no matter what orthodontic treatment is used. With traditional braces, good hygiene habits become crucial as it is much easier for food and debris to become trapped within the teeth. By following the instructions of an orthodontist to properly brush and floss the teeth, traditional braces can be easily kept clean.

If anything, Invisalign could be considered less hygienic due to handling. By simply removing and replacing the aligners with unwashed hands, your child could be spreading bacteria throughout their mouth. The aligners also need to be regularly cleaned, otherwise a translucent film of bacteria can build up, which could potentially lead to other health issues.

Greater Diet Flexibility

When wearing traditional braces, the patient must avoid certain foods that could cause damage to the brackets and wires. While it’s true that hard candy, chewy foods and crunchy snacks have to be taken off the table, most of these categories are filled with sugary, unhealthy options that would be detrimental to even the most perfectly straight teeth.

Invisalign braces do allow the patient to eat any food they desire, but as a parent you would be restricting high sugar items from your child’s diet regardless.

Always Seek Professional Advice

When looking into teeth straightening options, it’s very important to seek professional advice. You should also consider getting a second opinion to ensure you’re making the best choice for your child.

A recent article from the Sydney Morning Herald revealed how Invisalign is providing financial incentives to orthodontists who sell a certain volume of their product. This has in turn led to instances of orthodontists recommending Invisalign braces to young patients when it’s not an appropriate treatment.

At Baldivis Orthodontics, we pride on ourselves on giving our patients honest and genuine advice. As we are not part of any status partnerships with Invisalign, we will only prescribe invisible braces if it will be the most effective treatment for your child.

Get in contact with us today and arrange a consultation.