Invisalign for Kids

Can Kids Get Invisalign?

When it comes to orthodontic treatment for kids, the standard is traditional metal braces. While metal braces have been the industry’s go to for decades, in the last twenty years a newer form of orthodontic treatment has grown in popularity. Clear braces or clear aligners.

Invisalign was the first of the clear aligners to come onto the scene in the early 2000s. Even though there was some uncertainty around them in the beginning, they have proven to be just as effective as other types of braces in most situations.

Originally, clear aligners were targeted towards adults. This made sense since many adults don’t want to wear metal braces. While adults were the primary patients early on, the appeal of having invisible braces has trickled town. Today, many teens and kids want to know if they can also use clear aligners.

The simple answer is yes. Kids and teens can wear clear aligners like Invisalign. In fact, Invisalign has a special Invisalign Teen program. However, every child is different.

Therefore, just because teens and kids can get clear aligners doesn’t mean it is the best treatment for your child. Especially if they are under the age of 13 years old.

The Difference Between Invisalign for Kids and Teens

Before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of clear braces for kids and teens, let’s clarify who we are referring to. A patient who is considered a kid is anyone younger than 13 years old. A teen patient is anyone between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

While this may seem like a small detail to clarify, the difference in age is the main factor to consider when discussing if invisalign is the right treatment for your child. As mentioned above, there is a specific Invisalign Teen treatment protocol. This is almost identical to the regular treatment for adults, with a couple small differences.

The teen program includes a small blue dot on each plastic aligner tray. This helps parents see if their child has been wearing the trays enough. In addition, the treatment plan includes a few free replacement aligners (in case any are lost).

These two additions to the teen treatment plan address the two main concerns when having young patients use clear aligners. Tracking the frequency in which the aligners are worn, and the possibility of losing the aligners.

These are the same concerns around having kids use the Invisalign treatment. Currently, there is not a different treatment plan for kids that are younger than 13 years old. Therefore, kids would use the teen treatment protocols to help address these concerns.

However, even with the added benefits of the tracking dot and replacement trays, Invisalign may not be the best choice for your kid. Moreover, while clear aligners are the newest form of orthodontic care, there is still a place for tried-and-true treatments. Especially for kids.

Before choosing the Invisalign treatment for your kid, here are some things to consider.

The Benefits of Traditional Braces for Kids

Here at Reagin orthodontics we love clear aligners! In fact, it is one of our specialties.

We especially love that Invisalign encourages more adults to get treatment. As much as we love Invisalign for adults though, we also still love more traditional methods for straightening teeth.

Metal braces were the tried-and-true method to straighten crooked teeth for decades. Even with the new options available today, traditional metal braces continue to be an excellent treatment. They are especially great for kids.

The main benefit of choosing traditional braces over clear braces for kids is that they can’t be removed.

Metal braces are made up of small metal brackets, wire, and o-ties. A single metal bracket is adhered to each individual tooth. Then, the wire and o-ties are added to the brackets to create tension. This tension helps to move the teeth.

Once the braces are adhered to the teeth, they are on there for the entire treatment. When considering braces for young kids this is a key factor to consider.

With the braces being adhered to the teeth the orthodontist is the only one who can move or change the position of the braces. This keeps the treatment plan on track. Moreover, it takes away any extra responsibility for the parents or kids.

The Benefits of Invisalign Braces

If you are considering Invisalign braces for your kid, then you are probably already familiar with biggest benefit – their look. In fact, your kid may have asked for these specifically because of their invisible look.

While the lack of visible braces is one of the main benefits of Invisalign clear aligners, there are many other benefits.

More comfortable: Even though there can be some discomfort as teeth are adjusting, most patients find clear aligners to be a bit more comfortable than traditional braces.

Better oral hygiene: With metal braces it is difficult for kids to clean their teeth effectively. Since clear aligner trays can be removed, it is easier to brush and floss. Therefore, kids can keep their teeth just as healthy as prior to their treatment.

No off-limit foods or drinks: Some foods are difficult to eat with metal braces because things get stuck in the wire and brackets. However, since you can remove aligners to eat and drink, kids can enjoy their favorite treats without any concern. While the aligners are being worn (20 hours a day) it is important to only drink water so you are not bathing your teeth in sugary or acidic liquids.

Fewer visits to the orthodontist: With clear aligner treatment, less time is needed at the orthodontist’s office. In addition, the visits are quicker. Office visits can even be done virtually (in some cases).

Shorter Treatment (if treatment is followed): IF the protocol is properly followed by the patient, the overall treatment plan could be shorter than with traditional braces. However, one of the concerns with choosing Invisalign for kids is that it is more difficult to manage how long the kid is wearing their trays. If a kid does not wear the trays as prescribed, then treatment could end up taking longer.   You know your child best.

Despite all of the benefits of Invisalign treatment, the ability to remove the trays may be the single reason this is not the ideal treatment for your child.

Disadvantages of Invisalign for Kids

Invisalign aligners are removable. It is one of the things we love about them! Depending on the patient though, this advantage can become a disadvantage.

For Invisalign to properly work, each clear plastic aligner needs to be worn for a minimum of 20 hours per day. Remembering to wear the trays this much can be hard, even for adults. Even with a routine, they may forget to put them back in after eating or before bed.

Most adults eventually find a routine that helps them meet this goal each day though. In addition, many teens have enough awareness to meet this goal as well.

The younger the patients get though, the more difficult it can be to guarantee the 20 hours is being met.

Since it is recommended to remove the trays for eating, a young patient will do this every time they eat. If they are at home, it is easy to remind them to put the trays back in after a meal. Parents don’t have this control when kids are away from home though.

From school to sports and friends’ houses in between, there are plenty of places kids might remove their aligners. There is no way to track how long the aligners are being worn. Moreover, it is easy for kids on the go to potentially lose a tray.

Kids and Parents are Responsible for the Results

If a kid loses a tray or regularly forgets to wear their aligners, it is likely to extend the treatment. This is the main reason that choosing Invisalign treatment for your kid may not be the most effective treatment.

With traditional braces, young kids cannot remove their braces. The braces are set for the entire treatment. The only one who can make a change to them is the orthodontist.

With the Invisalign treatment though, once the patient leaves, the orthodontist cannot control if the braces are being used. The responsibility to maintain the treatment protocol becomes the responsibility of the parents and the kid.

Therefore, when considering if clear aligners are the best choice for your kid, consider how much time you want to invest in the daily treatment. In some families, this treatment will work well. In others, a more traditional approach to braces may work better.

If you would like some help deciding on which treatment is best for your kid, contact us for a complimentary consultation. 

 

A Complete Guide to Aligners

What are Aligners?

Aligners are commonly referred to as “clear aligners” or “invisible braces.” These common terms are accurate, since aligners work similar to braces to help align crooked teeth. As the name states, they are also indeed clear (one of their biggest selling points).

Even though invisible aligners help correct misaligned teeth in a similar way traditional braces do, there are some significant differences between the two.

One significant difference is that traditional braces are made from metal, gold, or ceramic, while clear aligners are made from plastic. This difference in materials is one of the reasons that clear plastic aligners have become so popular in recent years.

While treatment for crooked teeth is about oral health as much as aesthetics, sometimes the aesthetics of wearing metal braces often deters patients (especially adults) from getting treatment. Therefore, with clear aligner treatment a patient can get the treatment they need without having to sacrifice aesthetics.

What Are the Advantages of Clear Aligners?

In addition to the difference of materials used in making clear aligners vs metal braces, another big difference is how they are used to straighten the teeth. With traditional braces, metal brackets are adhered to the teeth and then connected with a wire that creates tension. The tension on the wire and how the shape of the wire interacts with the bracket is what helps to move the teeth over time.

Since the metal brackets need to be adhered to each individual tooth, they cannot be removed until the treatment is complete. On the other hand, clear aligners can easily be removed every day. This is one of the biggest advantages of clear aligners.

As the clear aligners are removable, you can choose what time of day you wear them (although you do need 20 hours of any given day for success). This gives you control to wear them when it is best for you, as well as to choose who knows you are wearing them. It also allows you greater ease over your daily oral health routine.

One thing many people find frustrating with traditional braces is the need to adapt to new practices for brushing and flossing. Many people are even told to avoid certain foods that could get stuck in their braces.

With clear aligners though, you can continue to floss, brush, and eat as you normally would because you can simply remove your aligner tray.

How long is the Aligner Process?

With the ability to remove aligners every day, you may wonder if this means it takes longer to achieve straight teeth using this treatment. While there is a lot of misleading marketing on aligners being faster than braces, they take about the same time.

The old adage of “the teeth and bone do not know what is moving them” applies here. Meaning it still takes the same amount of time for your bone biology to allow the tooth to change positions.

While overall treatment time is similar to braces, using aligners does save you time throughout the process with less visits needed to see the orthodontist. While traditional metal braces require you to see the orthodontist anywhere from every 6-8 weeks, Invisalign and 3m Clarity aligner patients only must go in for an office visit every 12 weeks.  Many of these visits can be virtual.

So, while some young kids may like to go in for frequent office visits to get new colored rubber bands on their braces – most adults love how they do not need to see the orthodontist in person as frequently.

At Home Aligners vs. In Office Treatment

If you have been thinking about getting clear aligners, then you may have explored trying an at home kit, known as direct to consumer. The appeal of not having to go into the orthodontic office is one of the biggest appeals for at home aligners.

Even though an orthodontist doesn’t have to apply traditional braces, getting aligners is still a practice that falls under orthodontic care. Therefore, just because an orthodontist does not have to provide the specialized practice of adhering braces to your teeth, it is still best to have an orthodontic specialist diagnose your malocclusion and give you an individualized treatment plan.

As with any type of medical treatment, it is very useful to have a local expert to check-in with as needed. With at home aligners, you do not have access to a professional that you can go in and visit if something goes wrong.

A common frustration that patients have with at home aligners is when the aligner tray rubs on their gums. While this may not seem like a big deal, if the trays are uncomfortable, you may not wear them as regularly. Therefore, your investment may not pay off because your treatment may be slowed down (or you may never finish it). Other common complaints of at home aligners are the aligners do not fit or “I did not get the results I was promised.”

By choosing in office treatment, you have access to a trusted orthodontist that you can contact for questions or in person office visits. You also have the accountability of a professional to help you complete your treatment.

Orthodontic Treatment for Clear Aligners

Here at Reagin Orthodontics, we make it our mission to offer the best orthodontic care. When it comes to clear aligners, this means offering patients easy and accessible options and the best treatment available.

As a clear aligner specialist, Dr. Reagin has helped over 1000 patients achieve their perfect smile. He has been able to accomplish this by combining his knowledge of orthodontia and the support of Invisalign clear aligners.

Dr. Reagin trusts the Invisalign process as not only a reputable brand, but a treatment that is effective and truly aligned with best practices for orthodontic care.

In addition to the treatment itself, our team has also noticed how important it is to make this a process that fits with each patient’s lifestyle. We do this through only requiring in office visits as needed, and even offering virtual appointments.

On average, we only need to see our clear aligner patients every 12 weeks for check-ups. Furthermore, as mentioned above, not all those visits have to be in person! Since the trays are removable, we can check-in with you virtually. This makes it so you get the ease of at home aligners, with the orthodontic care of in office aligners.

Who Can Use Aligners?

Traditional metal braces are often viewed as a treatment for kids and teens. Therefore, most adults are not eager to show-off braces even if they want straight teeth. Therefore, clear aligners were mostly marketed towards adults when they first came on the market.

However, many teens today do not want to wear visible braces either. As a result, brands like Invisalign created a specific treatment for teens. Even though clear aligners can be worn by teens though, there are some things to consider before choosing clear aligners over other braces.

One of the main factors in deciding if Invisalign braces are right for your teen is to determine if your teen will remember to consistently wear the Invisalign trays. Since clear aligners are removable and only worn for a certain amount of time each day (20 hours per day), it can be easy to forget to wear them. This can then result in not seeing the results you (or your teen) want.

Invisalign and 3m Clarity aligners want to make sure that everyone sees the results they want though. Therefore, they created a helpful tool so that parents and teens can use, to check and see that each tray is being worn as needed. Learn more about it over on the Invisalign® Teen section of our website. 

Moreover, clear aligners continue to be an excellent option for their original target audience – adults. They are just as effective as the braces you would have gotten as a kid, but with all the added benefits of ease, comfort, and invisibility!

Learn more about this revolutionary treatment on our main  Invisalign® Invisible Braces page.

How Much Do Aligners Cost?

When choosing the best orthodontic treatment for yourself or your teen, part of the decision may come down to cost. We understand! We know that proper orthodontic care can be a large financial investment.

It is much more than an investment in cosmetic dentistry though, it is an investment in your overall oral health, confidence, and self-esteem. Therefore, we do our best to provide patients with a full financial overview, as well as financing options to support each person in finding the plan that works best for their family.

While you may want to know the cost before even seeing an orthodontist, the cost for clear aligners can vary from patient to patient depending on each treatment plan. To help you get an idea though, we have a finance calculator on our website to provide you with a general direction.

Choosing the Best Clear Aligners

With every type of dental or orthodontic treatment, every patient is different. Therefore, it is always best to get a consultation before making a final decision.  A consultation is a time for you to get a professional opinion from an expert on the best treatment for you or your teen.

During a consultation a trained orthodontist, like Dr. Reagin, will discuss what he sees and your goals. He will then provide an overview of a treatment plan. Sometimes it will be suggested to begin treatment soon, while other times treatment may not be needed until the future.

The great thing about a consultation for clear aligners is that there isn’t a commitment, just helpful information so you can make the best decision for you or your family.

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School

When you’re at home, taking care of your braces or Invisalign tray is easy because it’s a part of your everyday routine. But how do you keep up those good habits when you spend all day at school?

The good news is taking care of your braces or Invisalign at school doesn’t have to disrupt your normal routine. Just follow the tips from Reagin Orthodontics for your dental care at school and you’ll get an A from your orthodontist!

What to Do at School If You Have Braces

  • Keep a care kit in your locker. You can use a pencil case or cosmetic bag to store items you might need to care for your braces or Invisalign tray at school. Here are the essentials to include:
  • Toothbrush and paste. Both of these items can be travel-sized so they don’t take up as much room. You can stop by your locker after lunch and grab these for a quick cleaning.
  • Dental floss, threaders, and picks. You don’t want to walk into math class with food stuck in your teeth or braces after lunch. These items are essential for getting to those hard-to-reach spots between and behind your braces.
  • Small mirror. You can take a quick look between classes or after a snack to make sure nothing got lodged in your teeth or braces.
  • Orthodontic wax. This can ease any discomfort if your parts of your braces irritate your lips, gums, or the lining of your cheeks. Use a piece of the wax to create a barrier between the braces and that sensitive skin inside your mouth.
  • Braces-friendly snacks. Chances are, you’ll get the munchies at school. But some items in the vending machine will hurt your braces, so keep some soft foods on hand in case you get hungry or have after-school activities.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does this help you stay hydrated (which is important), but it also helps removes food particles from your teeth. Water also rinses away any sugar, bacteria, acid, or other items that could harm your mouth.
  • Build in time to brush after lunch. Brushing at lunch can significantly lower the chances of tooth decay and cavities, so don’t skip this step. If you know your next class is across campus, just grab your care kit, take it to lunch with you, and stop by a bathroom that’s on the route to the class you’ll be going to.
  • Keep our phone number nearby. Sometimes emergencies happen. Brackets come loose and wires can become uncomfortable. You can call our office any time and we can schedule a time for you to visit one of our offices.
  • Get a mouth guard for sports. Even if you’re just a part of gym class, you can get popped in the mouth. Not only can it be painful, but the hardware in your mouth can cause cuts and damage to the inside of your mouth. And if you play a sport, a mouth guard is a no-brainer. Many athletes lose teeth because they don’t protect them.
  • Carry lip balm. When you have braces or Invisaligners, your lips can become dry. The solution is simple: keep some lip balm on hand. Stash it in your locker or backpack for easy access. (Just don’t leave it out in the heat. It could melt!)   

What to Do at School If You Have Invisalign

If you wear an Invisalign tray, you’ll need to follow the same instructions as someone with braces. However, there are some differences in caring for them at school. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Keep a care kit in your locker.  You’ll need to brush your teeth after lunch just as if you had braces. Your aligners can get stained over time if you’re not careful. Putting aligners back in your mouth without brushing your teeth can also increase the likelihood of cavities.

In addition to the items listed above, here are other items you’ll need to include:

  • Your case. If you need to take your aligners out (or even your retainer), your case will protect them and help keep them from getting tossed in the trash at lunch or lost during gym.
  • Your “outie” removal tool.  Sometimes, your Invisalign tray can be tight, especially when you switch to a new set. If this happens at school, you can use your removal tool to remove your aligner.
  • “Chewies.” When you first get a new set of trays, they can feel “off” as your teeth get used to them. We can give you some “chewies” (basically small rolls of gauze) for you to bite down on during the first few days. This will help them fit better and give you better overall comfort.
  • Brush after lunch. We’ve already emphasized how important this is. Don’t get lazy about it!
  • Take out your tray for contact sports. Your Invisaligners will fit your teeth closely, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out during non-contact activities. But if you are a wrestler, hockey player, or similar high-contact sports, you’ll want to take out your tray and put it in its case for safe keeping.
  • Hold onto your old trays. Once you’ve moved on to a different set of trays, keep the old ones. If you do happen to lose your current aligner, you can use an old one while we get a new set made and mailed to you. Wearing the old set keeps your teeth from shifting back into old positions.

Caring for your braces or Invisaligners at school doesn’t have to be a hassle. Just follow our tips and call us anytime if you have questions or problems.

Have a great school year!

The Truth About Invisalign

Ready to straighten those teeth? Trying to decide between braces and Invisalign?

With a qualified provider, either option will eventually lead to straighter teeth. But the beauty of Invisalign is that it offers all the benefits of traditional braces with hardly any of the drawbacks.

With Invisalign…

  • Will your mouth feel like it’s full of metal?
    • Nope.
  • Will your mouth look like it’s full of metal?
    • Nope.
  • Will you have to keep the aligners in your mouth 24/7?
    • Nope. They’re removable, with 22 hours of wear needed for good results. 
  • Will you have to change how you eat, brush, and floss?
    • Absolutely not. You can eat what you like. Just remove the aligners first.

On top of all that, with Invisalign, your checkups are less frequent. At Reagin Orthodontics, we see aligner customers about every 12 weeks. Plus, our customers can opt for FaceTime appointments to minimize their overall office visits.

So when it comes to braces or aligners, it’s a no-brainer, right?

Pretty much, yes. But some of our clients come to us with concerns about Invisalign–they’ve been told this treatment doesn’t work as well as braces. And, with some practices, that might be the case. But at Reagin Orthodontics, Invisalign is a fantastic option.

Simply put, Invisalign’s success lies in the hands of the provider. A skilled orthodontist who has spent time understanding this treatment and putting it into practice will give you amazing results. Ninety percent of our patients (including teens) are candidates for Invisalign.

Dr. Reagin has spent extensive time working with the aligner system to achieve the same results offered by traditional braces. He gets it. And, remember, this isn’t something that’s learned in orthodontic school. Each provider has to take the time to learn Invisalign on their own, if they choose to offer it to patients.

Think of it this way: We might be able to go out and buy the same clubs Tiger Woods uses, but that doesn’t mean we’ll have the same skills as a golfer. Any orthodontist can get access to Invisalign, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put the time and effort into learning and using this treatment properly.

We can promise you that, if you choose Invisalign, you will receive outstanding care and treatment–and you’ll see the benefits in straighter teeth, a more confident smile, with much less hassle than braces.

So whether you’re on the fence or ready to make a move, give us call at Reagin Orthodontics today to set up a complimentary consultation.

Invisalign Or Braces?

What is the difference? (Hint:not cost)

Considering braces or Invisalign to straighten your teeth? Many patients have questions regarding these different treatment options. What is more affordable? Will Invisalign be as effective as braces? What is the best treatment choice for my teeth? At Reagin Orthodontics, we want all of our patients to have an incredible experience and finish their orthodontic treatment with the best result possible.

Braces
Traditional braces have come a long way over the years. They are sleeker, smaller and more comfortable. At Reagin Orthodontics we use high quality American made brackets and that is certainly something to smile about! Traditional braces consist of small brackets bonded directly to the teeth with adhesive and a wire that connects them all together. They require periodic adjustments approximately every 6-8 weeks throughout the course of treatment to align the teeth. We offer metal brackets with a wide array of colored elastics and clear ceramic brackets for those looking for something more discrete!

Invisalign®
Clear aligner therapy, such as Invisalign, is an alternative to traditional metal braces. The clear aligner system is a series of customized, virtually invisible aligners that are designed to gradually move teeth over time. You may be surprised to learn the cost of Invisalign® treatment is comparable to braces! Dr. Reagin has spent extensive time learning how to use clear aligners to achieve the same results as braces and nearly 80% of our patients are able to select Invisalign as a treatment method. These aligners are removable which means there are no dietary restrictions, you can brush and floss normally, and there are virtually no emergency appointments needed! There are also fewer appointments required which mean less time away from work and school! You might be surprised to learn that the cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable braces.

If you are considering orthodontic care, call and schedule a complimentary consultation to find out what the best treatment options are for you and your family!  843-871-4411