Alternative to Braces for Teens
If your teen is tired of living with crooked teeth, now is an excellent time to consider orthodontics. At Rockaway Beach Dental Group we are regularly asked about Invisalign Teen® as an alternative to braces for teens. This product is growing in popularity as more and more teens are transforming their smile without the use of bulky and noticeable braces. If you live in Pacifica, CA or the 94044 area, we encourage you to call (650) 355-3126 and schedule an examination. We can let you know whether or not Invisalign® is the right solution for your child and how to get started.
What is Invisalign Teen®?
Invisalign® straightens teeth using a series of clear, plastic aligners. For teeth to move from their current crooked position to where they are supposed to be, pressure must be applied. With braces, this is done using metal brackets with wires threaded between them. With Invisalign®, pressure is applied using a series of clear aligners that have been created to put pressure on specific teeth. When worn in a series, they put the right amount of pressure on the teeth that need to be moved, so that they migrate to the correct position.
Here are seven things you should know about Invisalign® prior to visiting our office.
- Teens love Invisalign®. Why does this matter? Simple. If your teen enjoys their orthodontics treatment, they will be more committed to following through with it. Orthodontics is not a one visit and done type of procedure. It is up to your teen to remember to wear their aligners, keep up with appointments, care for their teeth, etc. This requires a level of commitment. The same is true for wearing traditional braces but the difference is in how satisfied they will be during the process. If you are unsure, don’t take our word for it. Studies have shown that teens wear their Invisalign® aligners for an average of 21 hours per day. Since they are fully removable, that demonstrates the level of commitment patients have when using a solution they actually like.
- Easier to use. One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign Teen® as an alternative to braces for teens, is that the clear aligners are incredibly easy to use. They function like a removable retainer. Your teen puts them in and takes them out as needed because there is nothing fixed in place like there is with braces. This means that they can eat all of their favorite foods and not have to adjust their diet. This is important since many teens are particular about what they eat and would not want to avoid grabbing a burger with friends or eating pizza at the end-of-season soccer party. All they need to do is take the aligners out and put them in a secure case while eating. The same is true when it comes to brushing their teeth. The routine of brushing and flossing is the same because the aligners come out while doing so. This is a far cry from braces, where the brushing and flossing routine requires additional tools and can take up to twenty minutes at a time.
- Teeth stay cleaner. Since teeth are easier to keep clean when wearing Invisalign®, there is less of a chance of developing stains or even cavities. Consider this, when a person wears braces, food can become stuck all along the brackets and underneath the wires. These areas can be hotbeds for bacteria and plaque that can eat away at the teeth and lead to decay. In order to prevent this, special brushes need to be used on a daily basis so that the brackets themselves can stay relatively clean. This can be difficult for adults, let alone children or teens. This is one reason that Our dentist recommends Invisalign Teen®. By removing the aligners while eating, there is nothing additional for food to get stuck on or for plaque to grow on. Since they come out to brush and floss, the process of oral hygiene is as convenient as it has always been. This makes it a win-win for oral hygiene and for the aesthetics of the smile.
- Better for self-esteem. The stigma associated with wearing braces has largely worn off but many teens are still insecure about looking different, worried about standing out, and do not like the idea of going to school with a metal mouth. At Rockaway Beach Dental Group, we get it. No matter how good of a job braces can do, some teens will not consider them due to feelings of insecurity or being self-conscious. As a parent, we encourage you not to force the issue because braces are a long-term commitment and if they are not happy on day one, it is unlikely that they will be happy on day 500. Instead, we recommend using Invisalign Teen®. Our Pacifica patients love this solution because it is almost invisible. Most of the time, people will not even notice that your teen is wearing anything. This allows them to smile for their yearbook photo, or every day, without hiding their teeth. In fact, their smile will actually improve during the process and those improvements will be noticeable, instead of the device they are using to accomplish the changes.
- Treatment time. Our dentist can let you know how long the treatment will last when you visit our 94044 dental office. Generally speaking, most teens need to wear their aligners for around eighteen months. The overall treatment time with Invisalign Teen is comparable to what it would be when wearing traditional braces as long as the aligners are worn for 20 to 22 hours per day. That leaves plenty of time to eat, brush teeth, and attend band or sports practice. If they start to wear them less than 20 hours per day, their treatment time could be lengthened.
- Teens say they’re more comfortable. At Rockaway Beach Dental Group, we have heard many of our Pacifica, CA patients rave about how comfortable their treatment is. Any time you are moving teeth, there is bound to be some level of soreness. It is inevitable. Whether your teen wears metal braces or aligners, when an adjustment is made or a new aligner is put in, their teeth will be slightly sore for a day or two. That is perfectly natural. The difference in comfort comes in when considering how everything feels on a regular basis. Since traditional braces involve metal brackets and wires, that metal can rub up against the cheeks and inside of the mouth, causing irritation. It is not uncommon for people to get sores or cuts in their mouth as a result. Naturally, this is inconvenient and entirely avoidable when wearing Invisalign Teen®. Since the aligners are clear plastic, they are entirely smooth and your teen should remain cut and irritation free during their treatment