When you think about braces, images of a teenager with a mouthful of metal probably come to mind. Fortunately for kids these days, advances have been made in the orthodontic field, so new options like Invisalign Teen are now available. Instead of wires, the Invisalign system uses removable, plastic aligners that are transparent and made especially for your child’s teeth. Periodic changes will move the teeth into their desired location without the use of metal braces. If you are considering Invisalign for your son or daughter, there are a few important things that you should know.


Who Is a Good Candidate for Invisalign Teen?


Invisalign Teen is a great option for teens that have erupted or erupting permanent dentition. The system can be used to successfully treat mild to moderate malocclusions, including crooked teeth, overly-crowded teeth, and gaps. However, the system doesn’t offer an orthodontist as much control over tooth movement, so it may not be the best option for complex cases, including:


  • Gaps of over 6 millimeters per arch
  • Teeth that have been tipped to a 45 degree angle or greater
  • Teeth that are rotated more than 20 degrees from the normal position
  • Deep overbites and open bites


How Long Will My Teen Need to Wear Invisalign?


Treatment times with Invisalign Teen are similar to those of traditional braces, but each situation is different. More severe cases will require longer treatment times, and mild cases may only require wearing the system for a year. How often your teen is wearing his aligners throughout the day can play a role in determining treatment times, though, especially since the aligners are removable. In order to stay on track with his treatment plan and to ensure that the teeth are moving as anticipated, he will need to wear his aligners for at least 20 hours per day.


What Lifestyle Changes Will We Need to Make?


Many orthodontic patients are aware that they’ll need to make changes to accommodate the braces in their lives, but Invisalign doesn’t require many adjustments. Since your teen can take his aligners out when he chooses, he will be able to play his favorite sports or instrument just like any of his peers. He won’t have to adhere to any type of special diet or avoid any of his favorite foods since the aligners will need to come out before he eats.


Is My Teen Up for the Responsibility?


The Invisalign system does require a greater level of responsibility than traditional braces because your teen will be responsible for ensuring he wears his aligners 20-22 hours per day. If he keeps them out for longer than that, it’s not likely that his treatment will progress along as quickly as it should, and the extended treatment time may lead to greater overall costs. Additionally, your teen will need to make sure that he isn’t eating or drinking with the aligners in his mouth, as the clear plastic can stain easily. Frequent rinsing and brushing is also needed in order to make sure that the aligners stay in good shape, and he’ll have to take special precautions to not lose them.