Clear Aligners (Invisalign®) for the Teenage Patient

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With advancements in technology, treating teenage patients comprehensively with clear aligners is now routine, efficient, and effective!

Benefits of Clear Aligner Therapy:

Improved Oral Hygiene

While most orthodontists take steps to minimize decalcification with fixed orthodontic appliances (braces), white spots remain a problem in up to 50% of patients. Removable, clear aligners make it easy for patients to maintain excellent oral hygiene.

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Digital Precision

Clear aligners (Invisalign) are designed by using the precision of digital technology. Starting with a digital 3D scan of teeth, planned tooth movements by our experienced orthodontists down to the tenth of a millimeter or degree is made possible.

Digitizing tooth movements also allows for customization. Everybody has different head forms and thus bite discrepancies. We would apply different corrections and exaggerated correction on patients with different skeletal relationships.

More Control

Clear aligners are a great treatment option for teenage patients whose front teeth don’t touch - or touch very little . Fixed orthodontic appliances (braces) can easily make this problem worse by making the back teeth move undesirably. Aligners cover the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth, preventing back teeth movement and allow selective closing of front teeth effectively.

Convenience for any previously missing teeth

Tooth colored pontics (tooth shape built in aligners) can be inserted when treating teens with missing front teeth. The esthetics are great!

Convenient and time saving

Today’s modern family needs convenience. Because of the digital customization, the aligner therapy enables us to limit in-person check-ups to every 15 weeks. That’s once a season! Teens that select clear aligners (Invisalign) have fewer and faster appointments than patients in fixed orthodontic appliances (braces). This allows for easier scheduling and less appointments during school hours.

There are considerably less emergency appointments and few dietary restrictions with clear aligners. Although rare, it is also a great treatment option for teenage patients with nickel allergies or who may require frequent MRIs.

Here are some other common questions we receive about teenagers in clear aligner orthodontic treatment:

How do you deal with compliance? Surely teenagers will not wear their aligners!

Teenagers are great aligner patients! No matter the treatment modality, orthodontics requires co-operation. A teenager with minimal cooperation is not a good candidate for braces either. In fact, non-compliance with braces is actually more dangerous than with aligners (from a hygiene standpoint because of high risk of white lesions and decay in braces with poor oral hygiene). We keep a close eye on our teenage patients and have a system in place to make sure they stay on track. Lastly, some aligners also have compliance indicators that help remind patients when it’s time to change into the next aligner.

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What if they lose or break their aligners?

Each aligner is meant to be worn for 7 days. If they lose or break their aligner, give us a call immediately. Usually, we would ask to just advance to the next stage and wear up to 14 days to catch up on the lost aligner. We can also order replacement aligners at no charge.

Aren’t aligners only for mild crowding cases? What about teenagers that require larger changes of bite and more complex problems?

Bite corrections are not a contraindication to clear aligner therapy. For example, a Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) can be used on the maxillary arch while aligners are started on the lower arch. Invisalign has also recently launched a Mandibular Advancement feature – where the aligners have built in ramps to help correct a Class II malocclusion while simultaneously aligning the teeth. In the past, this would need to be accomplished in two stages (the first stage involving a metal jaw corrector appliance).

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My child still has primary teeth. Can they use aligners?

Sometimes orthodontic treatment needs to be initiated on teenagers prior to complete permanent dentition. In such situations, eruption compensation is built into the aligner. Younger patients, who need early correction, can be a candidate to for Invisalign First treatment.