As mentioned in a previous blog post, clear aligner therapy (Invisalign and other clear aligner brands) have made strong advances in the last few years. They can be used to treat a wider variety of malocclusions than in the past, children and teens included. One of the biggest advantages of clear aligners is that they are removed during brushing, which allows for easier oral hygiene, decreasing the risk for decalcification and cavities during treatment. However, if the child does not have proper brushing habits, the teeth and aligners will get dirty over time, and decalcification and cavities can still occur.
Clear aligners can be a great option for children, but compliance is key. The aligners must be worn 22 hours per day and changed every week. Aligners are also removable, which means they can get lost, broken, or forgotten. Lost/broken aligners can be replaced, but there is a separate fee. The removable aspect of the aligners can be great for special occasions such as school photos, etc., but for some children, the temptation to take the aligners out is too great, and the aligners are taken out too frequently to be effective. It is important that your child is responsible with the aligners, because aligners only work when they’re worn properly.
Occasionally, the most ideal time to start orthodontic treatment is before all of the permanent teeth are fully erupted. In this case, we do not recommend clear aligners because of the need for several refinements (new sets of aligners to fit the newly erupted permanent teeth) and may recommend braces. Each child is different, so a full evaluation is the only way to know for sure which treatment option is best for your child.
Contact us with any questions you might have about braces or clear aligners. Ask us today about scheduling a free consultation.