Invisalign for Children and Adolescents
INVISALIGN FOR CHILDREN AGED 7-10 YEARS OLD
Is treatment with Invisalign clear aligners possible for children, or does this method only apply to adults?
It is very much possible to have an intervention with successive Invisalign clear aligners, in young children aged 7-10 years old. Even if there are still many deciduous teeth or is there a process of eruption of the permanent teeth, the treatment with this particular method is not only possible, but it also has many advantages. The usual, admittedly old-fashioned, and "unsophisticated" acrylic plates may come in various cheerful colours and with many lovable characters, however they still cannot compare with clear aligners providing predetermined dental movement, in terms of effectiveness.
Invisalign First Vs. "Acrylic Plates"
- Unhindered speech, since the 0.5 mm thick aligners cover only the teeth and not the palate and/or the sublingual area in children.
- The comfort achieved by Invisalign aligners for children cannot be compared to the unsophisticated acrylic plates. Aligners are extremely good fitting, as compared to what is often the case with acrylic plates.
- Much higher aesthetics, since there are no metal elements that characterise the old-fashioned acrylic plates.
- Dental movements are completely targeted, planned with precision in successive steps of 0.1-0.15 mm per aligner, which is not possible with the use of an acrylic plate.
- Children feel much less pressure from the active movement as compared to acrylic plate.
- Invisalign aligners for children do not irritate gums, unlike acrylic plates.
- There are no emergencies due to excessive pressure, as is often the case with acrylic plates.
- In case Invisalign braces are lost, the child can simply move on to the next one a little earlier, while when using acrylic plates, they need to visit the doctor's office to plan the construction of a new device.
- In terms of biocompatibility, the hypoallergenic plastic is a clearly superior choice as compared to acrylic and monomer residues that can potentially end up in the body, during the first hours of the device being in the oral cavity.
- It is possible to have a virtual appointment to monitor the treatment progress (online, from the comfort of your own home).
- The possibility and/or consequences of dental injury are reduced, since the aligners also function as protective splint in a sense.
All the above make the clear aligners a choice with a more favourable profile regarding the cooperation of a young child, as compared to traditional acrylic plates. After all, after the initial excitement due to fancy colours, a favourite sports team insignia, or their favourite superhero, these remain in their special cases more often than in the kid's mouth.
For all the above reasons, in our orthodontic practice, we made a transition from the traditional, unsophisticated, old-fashioned acrylic plates to Invisalign First clear aligners in all our cases that could benefit from an early onset of orthodontic treatment. If a removable mobile device is necessary at the tender age of 7-10 years, then Invisalign aligners for children are the best possible solution. All the advantages mentioned above make Invisalign aligners the ideal device of choice over acrylic plates.
Duration of the Invisalign treatment for children
The first phase of the treatment with Invisalign First aligners for children lasts about 6-15 months. After the end of this period, there is a pause until 12-13 years of age, where the eruption of all permanent teeth will be complete. At this point, we need to consider the necessity of starting a new orthodontic intervention. It goes without saying that the second orthodontic treatment will be simpler and easier, since there already was a first phase of the intervention, as compared to the case where no such intervention has taken place. It is worth noting that this first phase of the orthodontic intervention in children is recommended in individual cases (approximately 10-15% of children aged 8-10 years). More specifically, these are limited to the cases with functional deviations in the occlusion of the jaws, consequences of a dental injury, or premature loss of specific deciduous teeth.
INVISALIGN TEEN, FOR ADOLESCENTS AGED 12-15 YEARS OLD
Would it be worth considering having an orthodontic intervention with Invisalign clear aligners for teens? Are "glued-on braces" a better choice? So, what is true, after all? Is the method suitable solely for minor corrections? Is it suitable only for adults?
The answer to these questions came from a recent study by Borda et al published in Angle Orthodontist, Vol 90, No 4, in April 2020. In this paper, the same well-experienced orthodontist (a member of the American Board of Orthodontists) dealt with cases with the same objective difficulty (mild to moderate, with no indication for extraction). These cases were treated with the use of transparent Invisalign aligners for adolescents, in comparison to a fixed labial appliance (Damon braces). The results of these treatments were evaluated (through final study casts) by independent orthodontic evaluators, with the ABO evaluation system as reference. The sample as well as the result evaluators were randomized, in order to ensure unbiased evaluation of the results from a statistical point of view.
So, would it be worth considering having an orthodontic intervention with Invisalign clear aligners for teens? Are "glued-on braces" a better choice?
In terms of results, these showed the following:
● The treatment of mild to moderate cases in children or adolescents with Invisalign transparent aligners, had better results. The following were used as criteria for effectiveness: teeth alignment; horizontal overjet (distance between the upper and lower front teeth at occlusion); occlusal relationship of the jaws. Furthermore, the quality of the overall results was superior to the results attained with "labial glued-on braces".
● No differences noted between the two methods in terms of the inclination of the teeth; points of contact of adjacent surfaces; number of occlusal contacts, during chewing.
● The effectiveness of orthodontic treatment with Invisalign Teen clear aligners was clearly superior as compared to the effectiveness achieved with fixed devices. This is due to the significantly fewer appointments (13 vs. 19 on average), the number of urgent visits (1 vs. 4 on average), and the total duration (17 vs. 23 months on average).
In conclusion, when it comes to mild to moderate severity orthodontic interventions in children and adolescents (which, after all, constitute the majority of cases in any orthodontic practice), the use of Invisalign clear aligners to achieve the goals of treatment is superior to what is the case with fixed labial appliances ("glued-on braces").
It ensures a high-quality result in less time and with fewer visits to the doctor's office. Therefore, one may claim that Invisalign clear aligners for adolescents have become the treatment of choice in mild to moderate severity orthodontic cases. This is also proven beyond doubt, if taking into consideration the unhindered eating and oral hygiene, the possibility of performing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in case it is necessary, and the clearly superior aesthetics of clear aligners. However, even in complex cases (need for extraction or arrangement of impacted canine teeth) the use of Invisalign aligners cannot be excluded. However, there should be the possibility of using a fixed appliance that will ensure the necessary control of the root movement, which a removable clear aligner, covering just the tooth crown, cannot provide.
Therefore, Invisalign Teen clear aligners causing predetermined dental movement are an orthodontic appliance that is an ideal choice for teenagers, which is now backed by scientific proof. It suits the needs and the facts of the daily life of a child or a teenager but also their desire for an aesthetically and functionally perfect result, provided by a demanding orthodontist.
What is the procedure followed in Invisalign for adolescents?
Invisalign clear aligners for teens make up for an orthodontic intervention which is just as effective (or even more so) than with "traditional" braces. Provided that the instructions are closely followed, as given by the orthodontist, Invisalign Teen can successfully treat most common orthodontic cases. Invisalign clear aligners can relieve the teenager from various restrictions that often come in hand with traditional braces. In addition, they are rarely visible to others. Wires and brackets used in traditional braces are replaced by transparent, removable aligners. More specifically, during their orthodontic treatment, the teen uses a series of aligners, which have been made individually for them. Each aligner is used for 4 to 7 days and then it is replaced by the next. In this way, over time, teeth gradually move to a new position. In this way, we achieve the desired result.
Benefits of Invisalign treatment for adolescents
An important advantage of the Invisalign Teen method is the freedom it gives to the patient, as compared to a fixed orthodontic appliance (braces). The daily life of a teenager is not significantly affected, since they can participate in various activities without any problem. A common issue arising when a teenager wears traditional braces is to avoid participating in sports as they may cause injury to their teeth. On the contrary, Invisalign aligners are removable, and the teenager is at no risk for injuries occurring on the tooth surface. Again, in case where a teenager plays a music instrument, there are no restrictions, as is the case with fixed orthodontic appliances.
Another advantage of the Invisalign Teen method is that it does not cause any further restrictions on the eating habits of teenagers. Provided that the aligners are removed during eating, and subsequently put back in, there are no forbidden types of food. Moreover, brushing and flossing remains unchanged during your orthodontic treatment, since aligners are simply removed and then repositioned. In this way, proper oral hygiene is ensured. On the contrary, the diet of a teenager is quite limited when using "traditional" braces, as there are several types of food they cannot consume. Some examples are popcorn, carrots, nuts, "pasteli", a hard honey and sesame bar, and nougat. Toothbrushing and flossing also change during treatment with glued-on braces, since the teenager needs to adapt their brushing technique to the presence of wires and braces.
The Invisalign method for adolescents can be applied in cases where there are still some deciduous teeth, as well as in cases where all deciduous teeth in the dentition have been replaced. Regarding the duration of this Invisalign orthodontic treatment, it is worth noting that it does not differ from the duration of "traditional" braces treatment. Of course, this would depend on each particular situation (quite often, the duration is shorter, as explained above).
In conclusion, and without any doubt, Invisalign clear aligners are an ideal treatment for a teenager. This is due to the fact that the absence of a fixed orthodontic appliance ("glued-on braces") comes with the following advantages:
1. Absence of any emergencies due to detached braces or sharp wires
2. The teeth are digitally scanned instead of having unpleasant silicone impressions
3. Less time spent at the dentist's, without the need for time-consuming adjustments, as is the case with traditional braces
4. Fewer appointments in total at the orthodontic office, usually every 2-3 months (not monthly as it happens with the traditional braces)
5. Possibility to have a virtual appointment to monitor the treatment progress (online, from the comfort of your own home)
6. Oral hygiene process becomes much easier
7. No change in eating habits (the clear aligner is removed during eating)
8. It is a more aesthetically pleasing/discreet solution in relation to the external traditional metal or ceramic "braces"
9. The duration of treatment is shorter for mild to moderate severity cases
10. There is the possibility to perform a head and neck MRI in case of an urgent medical need/indication
So, in the case where you have been told that the Invisalign method is not suitable for your child, you can visit us, and we will possibly assure you of the opposite. Make sure you are properly informed regarding invisible orthodontics as well as all the methods it includes.