Parent’s Guide to Orthodontics: Invisalign Clear Aligners and Traditional Braces

Estimates suggest that around a third of children will require orthodontic treatment. With the best time to do this being during your child’s teenage years. The reason for this is that the jaws are still developing at this time, and believe it or not, this means that teeth can be more easily straightened and shifted with orthodontic treatment.

If your child has been identified as someone who would benefit from orthodontic treatment, you may be given several different options with regards to addressing their specific issues. In the past, children only had once choice – traditional braces. While this is still a very popular and effective option, braces have evolved considerably since their inception and there is also another solution that is overtaking braces in popularity – Invisalign clear aligners. We’ve put together this brief guide for parents on both orthodontic solutions to help you and your child decide which is the most appropriate choice for their treatment.

 

What are Invisalign clear aligners?

Invisalign is the brand name of the most well-known clear aligner solutions. Clear aligners are custom-designed, transparent, plastic aligners that are worn over the teeth, like how one would wear a night guard, and applies consistent pressure to force them into a new position. Their design makes them extremely discreet as they are nearly impossible to see unless you look very closely. Invisalign aligners are created in an entire set, with each aligner representing a different stage in the treatment. This is planned using cutting-edge mapping technology that uses a current image of your child’s teeth to determine the way in which they will need to move into order to address any misalignment issues.  

Every aligner is unique and provided in an order that must be worn exactly as directed for the treatment to be effective. They must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day, with each aligner worn for approximately 3-4 weeks before moving onto the next in the series. They can be removed for eating and cleaning but must be worn overnight.
 

 

Key benefits of Invisalign for teenagers and parents

 
  • Your child can eat the foods that they enjoy since the aligners are removed at mealtimes.
  • There is virtually no risk of your child breaking their aligners.
  • Invisalign aligners are very easy to clean and can be brushed using a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Your child will not feel as self-conscious about their teeth as they would if they were wearing traditional braces.
  • Your child will be able to practice better oral hygiene since they can brush and floss their teeth as normal.
  • Greater comfort since there are no poking wires or sharp brackets.
  • Fewer appointments with your orthodontist.
  •  No limitations on your child playing contact sports or doing athletics.

 

Key things to bear in mind when using Invisalign for teenagers and parents

 
  • Your child will need to commit to wearing their aligners for at least 22 hours each day. Failure to do so will prolong treatment or even cause it to fail. This means remembering to pop them back in after mealtimes and cleaning.
  • Similarly, your child must commit to wearing the aligners in the right order, otherwise, treatment will be compromised.
  • Invisalign is typically more expensive than traditional braces.


What are traditional braces?

As you may remember, traditional braces are a combination of brackets, wires, elastics and other structures that are used to apply gentle force to the teeth to move them into an improved position. Modern braces are much more minimalist than older designs, but they still contain the same elements. However, the brackets used are now available in both metal and acrylic, with the acrylic versions being more expensive, but also more discreet.

With traditional braces, your child will be asked to attend an appointment approximately every 6-12 weeks during which the movement of the teeth can be monitored, and the braces can be adjusted, which can only be done by your orthodontist. Since they are permanently in place, your child will have to learn to live with them day to day for the duration of their treatment.

 

Key benefits of traditional braces for teenagers and parents

 
  • You aren’t reliant on your child remembering to wear them each day.
  • Your child’s treatment will be monitored more closely.
  • Braces are very durable provided they are cared for properly.
  • Braces can be used to address very severe bite problems as well as dental misalignment.
  • Modern brace brackets can be supplied in different colors, giving your child the benefit of personalizing their style.
     

 

Key things to bear in mind when using traditional braces for teenagers and parents

 
  • Your child will need to spend extra time carefully cleaning their teeth since decay is more likely to occur with traditional braces due to the difficulty of negotiating around the various brackets and wires.
  • Your child is more likely to suffer from decay.
  • Treatment could potentially be stopped if your child isn’t brushing their teeth properly.
  • Your child will be unable to eat certain foods, including hard, sticky or chewy foods since these substances could damage their braces.
  • If your child breaks their braces, you could be liable for extra costs to repair them.

 

If you aren’t sure whether Invisalign or braces is the right choice for your child’s orthodontic treatment, our team would be happy to make a recommendation. Please contact our offices for advice and support.