Many younger patients are choosing Invisalign clear aligners over traditional braces to straighten their teeth. This is due to the highly customized fit, discreet appearance, and flexibility that Invisalign allows – however, there’s so much more to know. Here are the most common questions parents and teens have about starting a journey with Invisalign.
At What Age Can My Teen Get Invisalign?
There’s no exact age that qualifies a patient for Invisalign. If you and your teen are considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll have you in for a consultation. During this consultation, your teen’s orthodontist can determine if Invisalign is the best course of action, and whether or not your child is ready to begin their treatment. They’ll make sure they go over all your options, timeline, and exactly what Invisalign requires before you and your teen make the final decision.
What Happens If They Misplace An Aligner?
If your teen loses an aligner, the first thing you should do is search high and low before contacting their orthodontist. Make sure you check the house, the garbage, and anywhere it could’ve fallen – sometimes it’s easy to misplace if you’re not careful. If the aligner is truly lost, please call your orthodontist as soon as possible so they can put a plan together for you. They’ll evaluate and consider where your teen is at in their treatment plan before making a decision. They may decide that they’re far enough along and can switch to their next set without a blip in treatment. However, if the aligner is lost at the beginning of the two weeks, they may need a replacement aligner created.
Will Invisalign Be Painful For Them?
While Invisalign may be a little uncomfortable during the first few weeks, it will never be painful for your child. There are also many things you can do at the beginning and throughout their treatment to help them manage and cope with this discomfort.
Let Them Know They Can Come To You
If your teen is experiencing discomfort, it’s important that both you and their orthodontist know about it. While this uncomfortable feeling usually comes from the new pressure the clear aligners are causing, it can also come from edges that are irritating the sensitive tissues inside their mouth. These can be filed down to make for a more comfortable fit if it’s brought to their orthodontist’s attention. Make sure your teen understands they should bring up any issues so they can be addressed quickly, to make their treatment as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Make Soft Foods And Snacks
Especially during the first few weeks, your teen’s teeth, gums, and jaw will likely be sore. To help them still feel included in family dinners, you can accommodate them by sticking to mainly soft foods at the very beginning. This can include a variety of healthy options such as soups, stews, and chowders, pasta, smoothies and shakes, and steamed vegetables. Try to incorporate some of their favorite things to make the process a little easier on them.
Encourage Them To Wear Them As Much As Possible
While your teen may feel tempted to take out their clear aligners due to discomfort, please encourage them to keep them in for as many hours a day as possible, especially at the beginning. Wearing them for the recommended amount of time drastically speeds up the adjustment process, helps them feel comfortable faster, and gets them closer to their dream smile.
How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?
Treatment times will vary from patient to patient, as everyone’s orthodontic needs and goals are completely unique. If your teen has a few minor issues such as a few teeth that need to be straightened, they may only need clear aligners for as little as six months. If we’re dealing with more complex smile imperfections such as an overbite, underbite, or severely misaligned teeth, treatment could last a year or two. We’ll always try to provide accurate timelines while doing our best to help fix your child’s smile as fast as possible.
In order to reach their treatment goals on time, please make sure your teen is wearing their clear aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day, only removing them for cleaning and meals.
Can They Still Play Sports?
We understand that sports and recreational activities are such a crucial part of your teen’s development and social relationships with their peers. Invisalign clear aligners allow your teen to continue playing all the sports they love! Due to Invisalign’s highly customized fit, there’s a very minimal risk of it falling out or becoming damaged. While extremely high contact sports may need to be considered on a case by case basis by your and your teen’s orthodontist, they can participate in most sports without a worry in the world!
How Will I Know My Teen Is Wearing Their Aligners?
Invisalign Teen clear aligners come equipped with something called blue compliance indicators. These small indicators will keep track of your teen’s progress, and whether or not they’ve been wearing their aligners. These blue compliance indicators fade if the aligners are being worn as requested by your orthodontist, they keep their dark blue colour when they’re not being worn enough. This is a great tool to ensure your child gets back on track as soon as possible so they can reach their smile goals on time.