Kids may need to visit an orthodontist from a young age, especially if they have inherited a dental condition from their parents, like opposing genes.
For instance, 8-year-old kids with large teeth from the father, and small jaws from the mother will experience challenges like crowding and malocclusion as the teeth grow; hence, the need for early dental care. Misaligned teeth may also result from prolonged thumb sucking (after the age of 3 years), and losing teeth early, causing nearby teeth to tip. Protruding teeth, poor spacing and all sorts of misalignments need early dental treatment.
These problems can be addressed using metal braces, clear braces or Invisalign. Clear braces are similar to metal braces, but they offer an aesthetic alternative since they are made of ceramic, which is clear. Invisible aligners or Invisalign are somewhat different in that they are more comfortable, nearly unnoticeable, and take much shorter treatment time compared to the other two.
The Invisalign aligners provided by orthodontists are thinner, better fitting and more affordable than other techniques. When straightening the teeth of children, metal braces are no longer the first option. In fact, 4.3 million patients aged 17 or younger received Invisalign treatment in 2016.
It’s understandable to have reservations about this cutting-edge orthodontic treatment given that the majority of parents had traditional metal braces when they were younger. Continue reading to learn more about Invisalign for kids if you are debating whether to get Invisalign for your children or teenagers.
Minimum age for Invisalign
Invisalign is a fast and discreet orthodontic treatment that offers many other benefits for teenagers and adults when compared to braces. However, children under the age of 12 were previously not suitable candidates for Invisalign or orthodontic treatment in general. A child’s mouth and jaw are still developing up to the time when they have all of their permanent teeth. But in some circumstances, kids as young as 7 or 8 may receive braces.
Invisalign released Invisalign First or Invisalign First Phase in 2018, an orthodontic solution catered to patients between the ages of 7 and 10. Orthodontists have discovered that younger children are often considerably more obedient when it comes to wearing aligners than teenagers and adults, which has led to the widespread adoption of this new device. This clear aligner procedure is made to accommodate the special demands of growing youngsters, aligning their teeth while enlarging their arches and creating space for both their present teeth and arriving permanent teeth.
When a patient’s misalignment is complicated enough to necessitate braces, an orthodontist or dentist will make that determination. Even though braces are the finest option, there are several styles to pick from that are less obvious than the standard metal variety.
Braces vs Aligners for kids and teens
Between the ages of 7 and 12, children often lose their primary teeth, therefore many orthodontists wait until the majority of baby teeth have fallen out before using a full set of traditional braces. Children as young as six years old could utilize aligners.
But because baby teeth have less surface area for aligners to cling to, some specialists are hesitant about their use in such young children, according to Dr. Brent Larson, president of the American Association of Orthodontists and director of the orthodontics division at the University Of Minnesota School Of Dentistry. Many orthodontists believe that utilizing aligners when teeth are still erupting and resorbing is still up for debate.
Children who have lost all of their baby teeth have done well, but nobody is exactly sure what will work and what won’t for mixed dentition.
Additionally, unlike metal braces, Invisalign aligners can be removed in the school cafeteria, left on a lunch tray, and inadvertently thrown away. This is a concern that parents of elementary-aged children may want to take into account.
Challenges of wearing aligners for kids
While clear aligners have become a popular orthodontic treatment option for adults, there are some challenges associated with using them for children:
Children may struggle with compliance, meaning they may forget to wear their aligners as directed or remove them more frequently than recommended. This can hinder the effectiveness of treatment and prolong the overall treatment time.
Wearing aligners requires a level of responsibility from the child to keep them clean and well-maintained. This may be challenging for some children who may not be used to taking care of their own dental appliances.
Unlike traditional braces, clear aligners don’t require regular adjustments by a dental professional. This can make it more difficult to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to treatment.
Limited treatment options
Clear aligners may not be suitable for all types of orthodontic issues in children. For example, severe cases of crowding or bite problems may require traditional braces for effective treatment.
Clear aligners can be more expensive than traditional braces, and some insurance plans may not cover the cost of treatment.
Some children may experience difficulties speaking or develop a lisp when wearing aligners, particularly during the initial adjustment period.
When it comes to Invisalign vs braces for kids, the pros and cons are similar to those for teenagers. While Invisalign was previously only considered a good option for adults and some obedient teenagers, there’s now a reliable solution for smaller kids as well. So now children as young as 7 or 8 years old who are in need of orthodontic treatment can enjoy the various benefits of Invisalign while improving their smile.
If you and your children or teenagers are still debating whether to get Invisalign, It’s best that you schedule a consultation with your orthodontist to discuss these potential challenges of this treatment option. While clear aligners can be effective for certain orthodontic issues in children, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks of each treatment option to make an informed decision.
During your consultation visit, the dental team will assess your child’s particular dental situation and assist you in deciding whether Invisalign or braces is the best option for your family. Additionally, they can provide information about insurance coverage and flexible payment plans.