Is Invisalign right for your child?

Invisalign deserves a lot of the praise it gets; it’s an effective teeth straightening treatment that erases or improves upon many of the drawbacks associated with traditional braces. Despite the many positive Invisalign reviews the internet has to offer, no treatment is perfect; each treatment, no matter how amazing, has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. While many patients feel that Invisalign’s benefits outweigh its drawbacks, we know that it’s important to make this decision with as much information as you can gather. To help you out, we’ve provided an overview of Invisalign aligners, from what you can expect from the treatment and how it will impact your child’s daily life to how much Invisalign costs.

What dental problems can Invisalign treat?

Invisalign can treat a wide range of dental issues on both upper and lower teeth, producing just as dramatic an improvement in your child’s smile as braces. In addition to straightening misaligned teeth, Invisalign can remedy overcrowding, gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, crossbites, open bites, and can help bring a crooked jaw into alignment. Invisalign can even be used on children of all ages because they work well on both baby and permanent teeth, though an adult must be committed to ensuring that a younger child’s aligners are given proper care and worn throughout the day and night.

While there are serious dental issues that Invisalign can’t solve, the aligners are an option for most patients; your child’s dentist can tell you if they’re a good fit for Invisalign. If you’d like to see real-life examples of what Invisalign can do, we’ll be happy to show you before-and-after photos of our Invisalign patients during your child’s consultation.

How does Invisalign measure up to braces?

Invisalign aligners are so clear and discrete that many people won’t even notice your child is wearing them, but braces are impossible not to notice. Some children genuinely enjoy choosing fun colors for their braces, but braces make the majority of kids self-conscious of their smiles. Invisalign allows your child to remain confident in their smile throughout the teeth straightening process. Additionally, while braces have metal brackets and wires that can scrape or cut the skin on the inside of the mouth, Invisalign is smooth and designed to fit perfectly in your child’s mouth to ensure it feels natural and comfortable.

Since your child can take their aligners out whenever they need to, they won’t have to struggle to brush and floss around metal wires and brackets and can eat all of their favorite foods throughout their treatment—even popcorn and caramel! The trade-off is that clear aligners stain easily, so your child will need to commit to removing their aligners whenever they’re planning on eating or drinking anything other than water and will need to brush their teeth after every meal—even snacks. If they don’t, their aligners will quickly become stained, making them much more visible.

How long does treatment take with Invisalign versus braces?

Straightening teeth with Invisalign takes an average of 12 to 18 months, while using braces takes an average of 24 months. To be fair, however, the average treatment time for braces is likely skewed by the fact that they’re often used for severe dental issues that can take up to three years to treat; patients with more minor issues can be treated with braces in as little as 12 months.

Can my child remove the aligners whenever they need to?

Yes, but the key word here is “need.” Your child can remove the aligners for short periods of time when they absolutely need to, such as during meals or for a band recital, but the aligners need to stay in your child’s mouth for at least 22 hours every day. If your child is taking the aligners out so often that they’re regularly failing to meet this minimum requirement, it’ll take longer for Invisalign to straighten their teeth.

Is Invisalign really completely invisible?

Invisalign aligners are usually nearly invisible, making it incredibly hard for others to notice them. If they aren’t well cared for, however, your child’s aligners will become more visible as they accumulate stains. The good news is your child will have a fresh start every time they switch to a new aligner, so they won’t be stuck with a stained aligner for too long. Another factor that can impact the aligners’ visibility is whether or not your child needs SmartForce attachments placed on their teeth to provide the aligners with a little more leverage. The aligners fit tightly around the attachments to make them less noticeable, but they can make the aligners slightly more visible.

Not all children need attachments, however, and those who do usually only need a couple; this doesn’t have much effect on their aligners’ visibility, especially if the attachments aren’t on prominent teeth, but children who need many attachments will look like they’re wearing clear braces. This is still preferable to braces for many kids, especially since they can still eat all of their favorite foods, but it’s an important detail that you may want to ask your pediatric dentist about before you commit to Invisalign.

What’s the process for getting Invisalign?

Once you decide to get Invisalign for your child, their dentist will use a special tool to take a digital scan of your child’s teeth. This scan will be used to create a customized treatment plan that outlines each step of the teeth straightening process. The aligners are made in an outside lab and take about four weeks to arrive at our office; when they’re ready, you’ll make an appointment so your kids’ dentist can make sure they fit properly, give you and your child directions on how to care for the aligners, and answer all of your last-minute questions. It’s as simple as that!

What does the treatment involve?

Braces and Invisalign both work by exerting gentle, gradually increasing pressure on your teeth to get them to shift in the desired direction. Orthodontists increase the braces’ pressure to your teeth by tightening their wires, but Invisalign accomplishes this by having your child switch to a new set of aligners. Your child’s specialized treatment plan will determine how often they do this, but most patients make the switch every one or two weeks. Your child will still have to visit their pediatric dentist about as often as children with braces do—every four to six weeks—to ensure their teeth are moving the way they’re supposed to.

What care do Invisalign aligners require?

In addition to the regular oral hygiene we mentioned earlier to keep your child’s aligners clear, the aligners themselves need to be cleaned at least once a day. This will contribute to keeping the aligners clear and will ensure they smell fresh. Hot water can soften the plastic and cause your child’s aligners to warp, so make sure your child cleans them with cold water, a non-abrasive toothpaste, and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

What is treatment with Invisalign really like?

Your child will need to adjust several of their habits and put in a little work to ensure the treatment is successful and that their aligners stay clear. The biggest changes your child will have to make involve their oral hygiene and eating habits. While your child can eat whatever they want, they’ll need to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste with them at all times and really dedicate themselves to brushing their teeth after every meal and snack. Your child should drink water throughout the day and save dark drinks, such as tea, soda, and coffee, for meals or snacks when they’ve already removed their aligners. They’ll also need to be careful not to take the aligners off too often or for too long. Additionally, Invisalign will cause mild pain or discomfort after your child switches to a new aligner—just like braces will. It should only last for a day or two and can be easily knocked out with ice or an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary.

What happens if my child loses their aligners?

If your child loses their current set of aligners, notify their dentist right away so they can order a replacement set if necessary. If your child was just about to change to a new set of aligners anyway, their dentist may tell them to go ahead and make the switch instead of worrying about getting replacements. If your child just started a new set of aligners, however, they should go back to their most recent set while they wait for the replacements to arrive.

What’s the difference between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub?

While Invisalign and SmileDirectClub’s aligners look very similar on the surface, making SmileDirectClub’s less expensive price tag sound like a great deal, there’s actually a huge difference between the capabilities and quality of the two treatments.

SmileDirectClub saves money by relying heavily on remote service. Getting to stay at home might sound tempting, but it has its consequences; the quality of care your child will receive goes down because there’s no dentist to physically examine them. SmileDirectClub representatives don’t take your child’s medical history, oral health, or previous dental procedures into account when they advise you regarding their treatment, and you only check in with them online every three months once the aligners arrive. You’ll also end up completing a lot of steps yourself, like taking your child’s dental impression using a kit that SmileDirectClub sends you in the mail; dental impressions are notoriously difficult and can be ruined by a few stray air bubbles, so you might not get it right the first time.

Since you get Invisalign through your child’s dentist, they’re involved in the process from day one, examining your child’s mouth and tailoring their treatment to their individual needs and medical history. If you run into any problems, you can contact their dentist right away for a quick, personal response—something you can’t do with SmileDirectClub.

The biggest weakness in SmileDirectClub is the lack of supervised care from an experienced dentist with a hands-on view.

How much is Invisalign?

Invisalign has a reputation for being more expensive than braces, and while this was true when it first hit the market, it’s certainly not anymore! Nowadays, aligners from Invisalign cost about the same as braces, though exactly how much your child’s Invisalign costs depends upon the length of their treatment and what dental issues need to be fixed.

Will my child need to wear retainers once their treatment is complete?

Yes. Dentists recommend everyone who completes any type of orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign, should wear retainers once their treatment is complete. Think of it this way: Your child’s teeth have been convinced to move, but they’re not set in their ways yet. Retainers ensure that your child’s teeth won’t start shifting back to their original positions; if your child forgoes retainers, they’ll likely lose at least some of the benefits they gained through Invisalign. Everyone is different, so your kids’ dentist will give you specific instructions regarding how long your child will need to wear their retainer. Generally, however, they’ll need to wear a retainer for at least 22 hours a day for up to six months, after which they can begin only wearing them at night.

Invisalign is an effective, comfortable, and convenient teeth straightening method that gives your child confidence and the freedom to keep eating all of their favorite foods, but they’re not effortless; getting quick, discrete results requires your child to commit to forming new habits and taking care of the aligners. If you’re interested in Invisalign but aren’t sure if it’s right for your child yet, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sadeghi, Dr. Singh, or Dr. Tang to explore your options.