Children’s teeth go through various stages – from teeth growing in for the first time to them losing their baby teeth. You can anticipate these phases since it’s common for all children to go through them. Some parents misjudge something like their child’s crooked teeth as just one of these phases.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Any good pediatric dentist would recommend finding a treatment solution to help straighten their teeth. Many parents might expect to treat their child’s unaligned teeth with braces, but another option exists – Invisalign.
Invisalign has been hailed as a great option for various reasons. However, it begs the question: what is an appropriate age for Invisalign?
If you’re a parent pondering Invisalign for treatment, continue reading to understand what age is the best for Invisalign and why!
What is Invisalign?
For the most part, Invisalign is an alternative treatment for correcting dental problems like crooked teeth and bringing them back into alignment by straightening them out. Unlike braces, Invisalign doesn’t involve a mouth full of metal. Invisalign’s appeal stems from it coming as a clear guard fitted over teeth. This design makes them practically unnoticeable while working to correct unaligned teeth.
But how does Invisalign achieve that?
Unlike braces that pull teeth into alignment, Invisalign takes a more innovative approach to achieve the same. It does this through computer-generated images and impressions a dentist takes from the mouth. From there, they use it as the basis for changing the teeth’s position by using a series of molds to force the teeth into straightening.
A pediatric dentist will generally recommend that Invisalign be used as a treatment for at least a series of months.
What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?
For children and teenagers alike, Invisalign provides a plethora of benefits.
Unlike braces, Invisalign’s design makes it easier to clean and maintain. Furthermore, worrying about poor oral hygiene from food being commonly stuck like in braces isn’t an issue. With Invisalign, they can be removed when eating and drinking. Plus, they’re also a lot more comfortable in comparison to braces. Braces are prone to cause discomfort from the brackets and wires, creating tension.
Even better for parents’ wallets is that Invisalign requires fewer visits to a pediatric dentist. Braces generally need more visits since they need to be retightened. Meanwhile, using Invisalign, the pediatric dentist gives aligner trays for the current and several phases. Having everything already prepped results in not needing to go to the clinic for every next step of treatment.
Another bonus is that getting a nice, straight smile won’t take long. The average time for treatment with Invisalign ranges between 6-18 months, while braces can take up to two years to correct teeth alignment.
What’s the Right Age for Invisalign?
There is some debate about the minimum age a child can be offered Invisalign for treatment. Compared to braces, Invisalign seems ideal for young kids. Yet, there is a reason why there is no definite age minimum for Invisalign.
Some have speculated that kids as young as six can get Invisalign. However, people have countered against that age based on whether a child that age can handle the responsibility of maintenance.
Invisalign maintenance is minimal, but it can be easy to misplace or forget the Invisalign guard when removed. Furthermore, for Invisalign to be effective, it must be worn consistently for 20-22 hours per day. For younger kids, it can make them fussy about having something in their mouth all the time and be less prone to wearing them.
In which case, many pediatric dentists have found the sweet spot for age is between 12-13 years old. As a tween, they are typically at an age where they can manage themselves and their needs. On the other hand, not all children younger than a tween aren’t capable of maintenance. If anything, the decision to go with Invisalign for a child is more of a case-by-case basis.
Unaligned teeth in a child can potentially cause future dental issues if not corrected soon enough. That much is sure. Invisalign has been known as a great alternative compared to braces for kids. Yet, despite the minimal maintenance, the age for Invisalign can vary depending on the level of responsibility a child can handle. In which case, many pediatric dentists’ rule of thumb has been to have them start treatment as a tween. Waiting might be the best course to guarantee the successful execution of Invisalign treatment.