Invisalign for teens is a popular orthodontic treatment option that allows us to achieve a straighter smile without some of the drawbacks that can accompany traditional metal or clear braces. The Invisalign system avoids the placement of brackets and wires on the teeth, and instead uses a series of clear aligners to gradually move teeth into their new, improved positions. Because the aligners tend to be much less noticeable than braces, this treatment modality can be a good option for a patient who wants their orthodontic appliance to be barely visible. But what other benefits does it have to offer teens?
Adults often underestimate how deeply self-conscious teens can feel about crooked teeth or other dental issues. Although today’s braces are smaller, sleeker, and more comfortable than ever before, they still take some getting used to, and there are teens who may prefer a more inconspicuous approach to a straighter smile. Invisalign offers an option that is barely noticeable. Being able to undergo orthodontic treatment almost incognito can remove a source of stress for some teens, making it easier for them to focus on the things that matter more to them.
A complete orthodontic setup using braces in one person’s mouth can consist of up to 32 individual brackets glued onto the teeth, one wire for the top, one wire for the bottom, and a number of additional devices such as coils, rubber bands, chains, color ties, etc. Just like any device or appliance that is composed of many small parts, if it very easy for one or more of those pieces to break. We always tell patients and parents that there are almost no weekend or night emergencies with braces, but occasionally something will break and result in a pokey wire that needs to be fixed. When a patient chooses the Invisalign system, we can honestly say that there are no emergency visits…ever! The nature of the appliance is much more simple with fewer items bonded onto the teeth, with fewer parts that can rub or irritate the gums or cheeks.
In our office, we typically see both our braces patients as well as our Invisalign patients every 6-8 weeks. However, if a patient is not able to come to appointments at that frequency, or for our clients who are away at college, we almost always recommend Invisalign because we are able to check progress at more extended intervals. Invisalign clear aligners are all made and received in advance before the patient begins the treatment, so we are able to give patients the appropriate number of trays to get them through the interval to when we will see them next. Additionally, each check up will typically involve less chair time since we will simply check the fit of the aligners, make sure the teeth are moving and tracking the appropriate way, and then give more trays/aligners to keep the treatment moving forward.
One of the necessary ways to properly take care of braces is to avoid eating foods that could break the braces or wires, such as foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, etc. These food restrictions can sometimes be a challenge for our teen patients. For this reason, Invisalign aligners are a game changer! Designed to be taken out during snacks and meals, patients have more flexibility in what they eat and have an easier time keeping their teeth clean after eating. Almost any and all favorite foods are allowed, as long as teeth are brushed, flossed, and washed with ACT fluoride rinse according to our recommendations.
Same outcome, similar cost
One of the most common concerns when looking into alternative orthodontic treatments is the cost factor, but Invisalign therapy actually costs the same as traditional braces in our office. Insurance companies do not care whether braces or Invisalign are used, so there is no distinction between the two when it comes to receiving an insurance benefit. Dr. Sears’ financial coordinator will answer any questions our clients might have regarding their individual insurance plans, how to utilize FLEX spending accounts, and will submit a pre-treatment estimate to the insurance company in order to get documentation of what they can expect for coverage. We are also happy to offer a variety of reasonable 0% interest internal payment plans if needed.
Summing it all up
When used to treat common orthodontic issues, Invisalign clear aligner therapy can usually straighten smiles just as effectively as metal or clear braces. However, each patient is unique. There are certain cases that are complicated or severe enough that will require more precise tooth control than a removable aligner can provide. During the initial consultation with Dr. Sears, we will be able to determine if Invisalign treatment is a good fit, or if orthodontic treatment with braces would be more beneficial. For those who do not qualify for Invisalign clear aligner therapy and desire an inconspicuous option, we can utilize clear ceramic braces. We are committed every step of the way to producing a healthier, straighter smile for every teen patient we see!