Invisalign First: A Clear Choice for Children
Most of our patients at Designer Smiles are well aware that Dr. Ann is an Invisalign Expert. She has created hundreds of beautiful smiles with removable clear aligner therapy. What you may not know is that Invisalign is not just for adults. We have treated teens with Invisalign for years, and now we have a new option for children.
What is Invisalign First?
Invisalign First is a new treatment modality through our tried and true aligner therapy, Invisalign. It aims to provide the same benefits of removable clear aligners to children that parents and teens already enjoy while aiding the growth of the child’s jaws and the placement of the new permanent teeth.
Invisalign First differs from traditional Invisalign and Invisalign Teen by providing the dentist with specialized tools in the aligners themselves and in the treatment software for treating young children. These include specific design adjustments in the aligners necessitated by the smaller size of baby teeth. The aligners create space for new permanent teeth to erupt (come into the mouth). They can even break habits like thumb sucking!
Who is a Candidate for Invisalign First?
Invisalign First works best on children between the ages of six and ten years. Most children begin losing their baby teeth in this timeframe. Ensuring that there is adequate space for the permanent teeth to come into the mouth is an important aspect of Invisalign First.
This is also a time of growth for the child. The upper and lower jaws should naturally expand to make room for the new permanent teeth. For some children, this does not occur naturally. Abnormal or inadequate growth may be the result of mouth breathing, sleep disorders, or thumb sucking among other things. Invisalign First promotes the right growth patterns in your child’s jaws.
What Sort of Problems Does Invisalign First Address?
Invisalign First is similar to Phase I orthodontic treatment in its interceptive nature. It aims to anticipate future orthodontic problems and change growth patterns before they occur, thus preventing them. Phase I orthodontic treatment, whether through traditional braces or Invisalign, always works to induce healthy growth and a more favorable jaw relationship. This leads to less extensive and less expensive orthodontic treatment in the future (if any further treatment is needed at all).
Dr. Ann will discuss the option of Invisalign First with you if your child has any of the following orthodontic problems:
- Severe crowding of the baby teeth
- A narrow upper arch
- A crossbite, when the lower teeth do not fit inside the upper teeth as they should
Invisalign First can interrupt these orthodontic problems and set your child on a better path for jaw growth.
What Do Parents Need to Understand about Invisalign First?
As the parent of a child in need of orthodontic treatment, there are some important things for you to understand about early orthodontic treatment in children. Repositioning of the teeth and guidance of jaw growth is interceptive in nature. It is NOT final treatment and will not necessarily produce perfectly straight teeth. You should expect your child to require further orthodontic treatment for the purpose of finishing later in life. This applies to any form of orthodontics.
There are also special considerations if you choose the option of clear aligner therapy for young children.
Invisalign First carries all of the advantages of removable clear aligners! While children seem to adjust relatively quickly to the appearance of traditional braces (probably much better than adults and teens do), they do continue to suffer from the discomfort and difficulty cleaning the teeth that braces cause. Many children develop mouth sores and ulcers from the hardware of brackets and wires. They also struggle to remove dental plaque effectively.
With Invisalign First, your child will avoid these painful cuts and sores. Also, you can help your child keep his or her teeth as clean as possible with the ability to take the aligners out.
Removing plaque and keeping the teeth clean is the biggest advantage of clear aligners over traditional braces. So many children suffer from cavities and gingivitis during and just after orthodontic treatment because they are unable or unwilling to effectively clean their teeth.
Invisalign First can set your child into a good growth pattern and then allow the child to continue in that growth pattern without limitation (as opposed to some traditional orthodontic appliances).
Because Invisalign First aligners are removable, they carry the disadvantage of non-compliance. What we mean by non-compliance is that the patient has the option to not wear the aligners. And obviously, if the aligners are not on the teeth, the teeth are not moving.
While this disadvantage applies to all forms of Invisalign, it might carry a little more weight for young children. As the parent, we know that quite a bit of the burden will fall on you to ensure that your child is wearing the aligners for the requisite twenty-two hours each day. You will need to constantly nag . . . ahem, we mean remind . . . your child to wear the aligners all the time.
Aligners are not capable of correcting every orthodontic problem that could present itself in children, so Invisalign is not always an option. Dr. Ann will screen your child first to determine whether she can accomplish the appropriate movements with aligners. If not, she will refer your child to see a wonderful, experienced orthodontist who can provide the necessary treatment.
Want to Know if Invisalign First is Right for Your Child?
Call Designer Smiles today to schedule a consultation for your child with Dr. Ann. She can go over the specific details of your child’s orthodontic condition and whether Invisalign First can meet his or her needs.