If you’re the parent of a teenager, think about what you saw at the last school function you attended with your child. Did you see parents casually covering their smiles with cocktail napkins only to see some of your kid’s friends quickly rub the underside of their noses when they grinned? Unfortunately, too many grown-ups and young adults have developed a near-reflexive reaction to cover their mouths when they smile.
When you think about the behavior of your child’s friends when they were in elementary school, you probably don’t remember those same insecurities. Instead, you probably recall your kid’s buddies laughing open-mouthed with the reckless abandon you might miss dearly.
It seems that many people grow increasingly aware of their smile as they get older, particularly during the years after they lose most or all of their baby teeth. Why is that the case? Peer pressure to have the perfect smile might be to blame. A loss of hope as permanent teeth fail to grow in properly may be another reason.
No matter what your motivation might be, there’s no reason for you—or anyone else—to be ashamed of your smile. There’s also no reason for the majority of young and older adults to resign themselves to wearing braces to correct an imperfect smile. That’s because an alternative to braces has become readily available to people in most age groups in recent years. And that alternative is Invisalign.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign clear aligners were invented in the late 1990s and they’ve since become a mainstream alternative to traditional metal braces. In the years since, Invisalign aligners have been used to improve millions of imperfect smiles across age groups.
Invisalign treatment involves wearing a series of clear Invisalign aligners over a period of months, with each successive set of aligners moving teeth closer to their proper position. Because they’re clear, Invisalign “braces” are barely discernible to onlookers, unlike their metal brethren.
In general, patients are advised to wear each set of aligners 20-22 hours per day for two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, they’ll get another set of aligners. While patients must typically follow a relatively restrictive diet with metal braces, Invisalign treatment doesn’t have similar restrictions because patients remove their aligners when they eat or drink anything other than water.
While some patients may see a marked improvement in their smile in as little as 10 weeks, the overall treatment typically lasts longer. Because everyone’s situation is different, there is no one set timeline for how long Invisalign treatment will last. Depending on your unique circumstances, your custom treatment plan may last eight months, 12-18 months or longer.
What Age Groups Can Use Invisalign Clear Aligners?
As we alluded to earlier, Invisalign treatment is available to individuals in an array of age groups. These age groups include young children, teenagers, and adults of all ages.
Invisalign for Young Children
While you may think otherwise, it might be appropriate for children at or between the ages of six and 10 to begin treatment under the watchful eye of an orthodontist. As it relates to Invisalign, orthodontic treatment in this age group is referred to as Phase 1.
According to Invisalign, “the goal of Phase 1 treatment is to develop young jaws and/or arches to make room for existing teeth and for incoming permanent teeth.” When you talk to an Invisalign specialist, you’ll learn that Phase 1 treatment can stop pre-existing bite problems from worsening, straighten teeth, assist with habits like thumb sucking and shorten the time necessary for later orthodontic treatment to yield results.
Invisalign for Teens
Invisalign for teens can be a highly effective treatment for correcting an imperfect smile because a teen’s teeth aren’t as affixed in position as an older person’s might be. As a general rule, teens must have the majority of their permanent teeth before treatment can be initiated.
While it’s usually necessary for teens to have most of their permanent teeth to undergo Invisalign treatment, there’s an even more important factor to determine whether your kid is a viable candidate for this treatment. And that factor is discipline.
For Invisalign treatment to be as effective as possible in the shortest period of time, the clear aligners must be worn at least 20 hours per day although 22 hours is preferable. If a young adult lacks the discipline to wear Invisalign braces for the recommended number of hours every day, Invisalign may not be the right course of treatment.
Luckily, Invisalign for teens has a built-in safeguard for parents to see if their kids are wearing their aligners long enough daily. Invisalign aligners for teens have a barely visible exterior blue dot that will indicate whether a patient is wearing his or her Invisalign braces long enough every day.
Invisalign for Adults
While Invisalign for adults may take longer than the treatment needs to yield results in many younger patients, it’s been proven effective for adults in their 20s, people who are well into their senior years and countless grown-ups in between those age groups. Even people in their 80s have experienced desirable, sometimes life-changing results thanks to Invisalign treatment.
Bone density is often the key that determines whether a grown-up is a candidate for Invisalign. When you meet with an Invisalign orthodontist to inquire about an adult treatment plan, it’s likely your doctor will check your bone density to ensure Invisalign can produce the results you’re hoping for.
Clearsmile Orthodontics Works with Patients from All Age Groups
Whether you’re interested in Phase 1 treatment for your young child, Phase 2 treatment for your teen or you’re an adult seeking Invisalign treatment for yourself, we encourage you to contact Clearsmile Orthodontics. We treat patients in all eligible age groups, and we’re standing by to help you attain the smile you’ve always dreamed of having.
We use Invisalign to treat a wide array of conditions effectively, such as spacing, overbite, underbite, open bite, crossbite, and crowded teeth. No matter what issue you’re grappling with, we can help you achieve your best smile with Invisalign. Make an appointment with our in-house Invisalign specialist today.