Adults often choose clear retainers over metal braces because they’re discreet, flexible, and effective. What you may not know is that Invisalign for teens offers the same benefits with a few key differences to accommodate adolescent needs. At Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX, we know the impact this system can have on teens who want to improve their smiles but aren’t comfortable with metal braces, and we’re happy to recommend it as a safe treatment.
What Should You Expect from Invisalign for Teens?
This clear aligner system is made specifically for teenagers. It’s nearly invisible but effectively straightens teeth to give teens bigger, brighter, and more confident smiles. And because this system omits the bands, brackets, and wires employed by traditional braces, Invisalign does not draw excessive attention to the mouth. Many teens prefer it for this reason.
So, how does Invisalign work? With a series of removable trays that apply pressure to the teeth. This is similar to the way in which metal braces work, gradually shifting teeth out of misalignment and into alignment. But the trays don’t affix to teeth; instead, teens trade them out every two weeks to ensure progressive improvement that is gentler and more comfortable than metal braces.
How Is This System Different?
If you’re familiar with the Invisalign brand, you probably want to know the difference between teen and adult aligners. The former is designed to overcome obstacles specific to adolescents. Many teens forget to put their trays back in after removing them for eating or drinking. When not worn as intended, the trays become less effective and may require a longer treatment plan.
Invisalign for Teens solves this problem with a blue indicator dot that monitors the number of hours your teen wears the aligners every day. The dot is located on the back of each tray and fades after a certain amount of wear time. As a parent, you’re therefore able to know when the trays are consistently used – and when they’re not. This allows us to address a concern before it grows into a bigger problem and interferes with long-term treatment success.
Just a moment ago, we mentioned Invisalign trays must be removed before eating and drinking. Teens also regularly remove them to participate in sporting events. All of these occasions present opportunities for trays to get misplaced. Invisalign recognizes this and, with its teen-driven program, provides up to six replacement aligners at no additional charge.
Space for Growing Teeth
It’s not unusual for teens who choose Invisalign to still have growing teeth. This complicates traditional braces that, once affixed to teeth, remain in place until treatment is complete. But Invisalign Teen is made to adjust as new molars come in. The system can even guide these teeth into place to prevent additional alignment issues.
Invisalign trays also have “power ridges” that, if necessary, can gently move the roots of growing teeth. The goal is to support new tooth growth and ensure each tooth grows into the correct position.
Invisalign Teen comes with a guarantee to ensure you and your child are satisfied with treatment. If treatment doesn’t deliver as expected within the first six months, we’ll switch your teen to metal braces at no additional cost. This is known as the Invisalign Teen Guarantee and provides you with the confidence you need to choose this system.
Answers to Common Questions
The most common question we hear is, “How many hours each day do Invisalign trays need to be worn?” For treatment to be as effective as possible, your child needs to have them in between 20 and 22 hours a day. This provides plenty of time for eating, cleaning, and physical activity. The rest of the day, trays should be worn without interruption. They’re designed for discretion so they won’t interrupt a busy teen’s life.
What Are the Diet Restrictions?
Metal braces impose a long list of diet restrictions; any food that is hard, chewy, or sugary is off the table because it can break or get stuck within the metal components. And when teens choose to ignore these restrictions, spacers can be displaced or wires can snap and require the appliance to be repaired or replaced.
Invisalign is much less limiting because teens remove their trays before every snack or meal. This means they can eat what they want, within reason. Chips, bagels, crispy vegetables, steak, and an occasional chewy, sugary treat are all possible.
What Should I Watch for If My Teen Chooses Invisalign?
Invisalign for teens is designed to simplify tooth alignment. The only issue we see, therefore, is when trays aren’t worn appropriately. This tends to happen in the beginning, when the adjustment period is just setting in. But, as we mentioned earlier, the blue dot indicator helps deter this.
We’ll also use regular office checkups to monitor your teen’s progress. If he or she is progressing at the expected rate, we’ll know the trays are diligently worn each day. Some lagging could indicate the trays aren’t worn as often as they should be, and we can talk to your teen about this. If he or she is significantly behind on progress, we’ll ask your child how we can improve treatment.
The Truth About Treatment
We should note teens are generally better about wearing their aligners than adults. A survey of orthodontists reveals teen patients are more likely to follow and finish Invisalign because they’re more receptive to directions. And teens are eager for healthy smiles to ensure they look their best.
A second factor is at work here as well. Most teens prefer to complete treatment with Invisalign instead of metal braces because the former is more discreet. Studies confirm that 92% of teens feel self-conscious in traditional braces- the metal components are visible with every laugh, smile, and word spoken. Clear trays, on the other hand, are harder to detect and therefore gentler on your teen’s self-esteem.
Is Teasing Prevalent with Invisalign?
We all know how hard it is to be a kid, and the last thing we want is to add to your teen’s worries. So, to answer your question, we’ll once more rely on statistics. Surveys of teenagers who wore either Invisalign or traditional braces reveal the former are 68% less likely to be teased by classmates. The aligners are prominent on social media, and high-profile celebrities have shared their own success stories after using this system.
It’s important to remember plastic trays are just as effective as metal braces. Invisalign can in fact be used to treat a variety of concerns, including many of those that metal braces address. These tools likewise work at the same rate, so the only difference is in how they make your teen feel.
Who Can Wear Invisalign Teen?
This system is for teens who have:
- Overcrowded or gapped teeth
- Open bites
We’ll fully evaluate your child to ensure his or her case is ideal for Invisalign. We’ll also explain what to expect throughout treatment and the exact results we can deliver using this system. Any questions you or your teen have can be asked at this time – we want to ensure you’re both comfortable with the treatment we recommend.
Benefits of Invisalign
Metal braces are made with components that can irritate soft mouth tissues. Invisalign, on the other hand, is made with smooth plastic and custom-made to fit your teen’s mouth. The aligners are trimmed to match the gum line for a perfect fit. And because the trays lack wires, you need not worry about your child’s mouth getting cut. After the initial adjustment period, most patients forget they’re even wearing these trays.
Oral hygiene is likewise easier because the trays are removable. Maneuvering a brush around brackets and wires demands more time and attention. But Invisalign allows your teen to brush and floss as normal. One key difference is in frequency; all patients must brush every time they eat before putting the trays back in. The trays themselves also need to be regularly cleaned.
Shorter and Fewer Appointments
Invisalign for teens does not require periodic adjustments, so you and your child can enjoy fewer trips to our office. Checkups are required every six to eight weeks, but these generally go quickly. We ensure your child is doing well with treatment and teeth are moving as they should. Once any questions or concerns are addressed, you’re both free to leave once more. This saves considerable time over the entire course of treatment.
We’re also able to eliminate the emergency visits sometimes necessary with metal braces. For instance, trays don’t hit the mouth or break when certain foods are eaten, meaning they don’t need to be repaired. You and your teen will therefore only need to see us on scheduled days – unless one of you requests an appointment to speak with our staff.
Metal braces deliver beautiful results but lack the precision Invisalign delivers. This system is based on computerized treatment planning, and each aligner is crafted according to your teen’s mouth and tooth measurements. This precision, when combined with the expertise of our staff, ensures lovely results.
Invisalign eliminates the need to adjust your teen’s diet and brushing habits – although frequency will increase – and therefore can provide an easier transition than metal braces. Those who play wind instruments similarly find Invisalign easier because the trays can be removed during practice and performance; metal braces can break if care isn’t taken during the first two or three plays.
Tips for Teens
Many approach Invisalign with a sense of excitement. The trays are customized to meet individual needs and fit comfortably once in place, and the promise of straighter teeth can make treatment feel like a milestone rather than a medical necessity. To ensure every step with Invisalign goes smoothly, we recommend the following tips:
- Carry an oral hygiene kit in your backpack so you can brush after meals
- Let an adult know if you run into problems, like if an aligner causes abnormal pain
- Wear a mouthguard while playing sports to protect your teeth from damage
- Practice speaking aloud right after you put in the aligner for the first time
- Wear the retainer we provide after treatment to keep your teeth from moving into their former positions
A Brand New Journey
Invisalign offers effective tooth movement with discreet trays that minimally impact daily routines. This system can also boost your teen’s confidence and deliver the same results as metal braces. Whether Invisalign or traditional braces make the most sense for your teen’s case, our team has the expertise to guide you both on this new journey. Schedule a consultation today by calling Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX.