A Guide To Invisalign Teen

Ortho­don­tic treat­ment is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty for peo­ple of all ages. For chil­dren, it can help to ensure their teeth emerge in the cor­rect align­ment and can set them up for life of con­fi­dence. Your child’s den­tist will mon­i­tor their teeth as they get old­er and offer rec­om­men­da­tions for when treat­ment might be required.

For NHS braces, you’ll need a referral from your dentist and your child will need to have a clinical requirement for braces. However, parents can also choose to head down the private orthodontics route if they would rather not spend too long on a waiting list. Private orthodontics will also give you access to treatment plans such as Invisalign.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign is a popular orthodontic system that uses removable plastic aligners rather than fixed metal braces. The aligners look similar to the retainer that patients wear at the end of their treatment plan.

The treatment starts with a scan of the teeth to determine the ideal alignment for each tooth. Using computer imaging, we can create a virtual view of the teeth in perfect alignment. This information is used to create the case of aligners.

The child starts with the first set of aligners in their case and wears them for around 10-14 days before moving to the next aligner in the set. As they move through the case, their teeth will get closer and closer to perfect alignment.

At the end of treatment, they can switch to a retainer which only needs to be worn at night time to keep the teeth in the optimum alignment.

At what age should a child get Invisalign?

There is no ideal age for Invisalign, and parents can consider this treatment from the moment their adult teeth start to emerge. It’s possible to use Invisalign to hold the teeth as they emerge so that there is less chance of overcrowding leading to alignment problems.

Children typically benefit from Invisalign from around the age of 12 or 13. The child’s habits and maturity should also be taken into consideration, as this treatment is very reliant on compliance. If the child is likely to forget to wear their aligners or lose them, it might be better to wait until they are older, or to opt for fixed metal braces.

Who is a good candidate for Invisalign?

Invisalign can treat a wide range of orthodontic issues, including problems with alignment, spacing, overcrowding and bite alignment issues. With precision wings and attachments, the dentist can achieve the same results as they would with fixed metal braces.

The main difference between this treatment and fixed metal braces is that Invisalign is reliant on the patient wearing their aligners for at least 20-22 hours per day. They can remove them to eat, drink anything other than water, and brush their teeth. The rest of the time, they need to remember to replace their aligners.

If your child is forgetful or likely to rebel against the treatment plan, it might be a better idea to choose fixed braces. Invisalign aligners have a wear indicator that tells the dentist if the aligners have been worn for the required time. This can offer some reassurance that they are following the treatment plan.

What is the alternative to Invisalign?

The most popular alternative to Invisalign is treatment plans like fixed metal braces. It’s also possible to opt for fixed braces that aren’t as visible as the metal aligners. These are made from tooth-coloured brackets and clear wires which allow for a more discreet treatment plan. These are not removable, so your child may need to avoid certain foods while they are wearing them.

You could also opt for lingual braces, which are fixed metal braces that attach to the back of the teeth rather than the front. This conceals the apparatus and can help to boost confidence through treatment.

Is Invisalign available on the NHS?

Invisalign is not available on the NHS and can only be accessed through private dentistry. This is growing in popularity with parents who do not want their child to have to wait on a waiting list for treatment. If your child is at risk of “ageing out” of the NHS waiting list, it can often be beneficial to make the decision to go private.

As your child is waiting for NHS braces, their teeth will be drifting further and further out of alignment. This means there will be more work to do to get them back to the correct alignment. And if they age out of eligibility before they reach the top of the list, they might have to start private treatment anyway.

If you’re considering Invisalign treatment for your teenager, get in touch with our orthodontic team today. We can help you to choose the right treatment for your needs and set your child up for life with a confident smile.