If you or your child have crooked or misaligned teeth, you probably have questions about your options for orthodontic treatment and tooth-straightening procedures, such as:
- How old do you have to be to get Invisalign?
- Is Invisalign right for younger children?
- What are the benefits and risks compared to braces and other tooth realignment procedures?
- Where can I go for professional Invisalign treatment?
Each of these questions is important. If you live in the Tampa area, the answer to the last question is clear. Invisalign services in Tampa from Westchase Smiles Institute give families in our community smiles they can be proud of.
The Westchase Smiles Institute cares particularly about the dental health of the children in Tampa, FL. Children should receive age-appropriate and high-quality dental care while their teeth and jaws develop. This guide for parents helps them to answer the question, “How old do you have to be to get Invisalign?” so that they can make informed decisions about their children’s care.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is an alternative to braces that works by placing plastic aligners over the teeth, day and night, to gradually push the teeth into a more typical position. Throughout the procedure, the patient will go through a series of aligners, each one moving the teeth one step closer toward proper alignment.
Invisalign has some advantages over braces. It tends to be less expensive, and the aligners can be removed more easily. It is less visible because it relies on clear plastic aligners. This could reduce any social consequences for children in school compared to getting metal braces.
Understanding the Invisalign Process
When a child comes in for Invisalign, the dentist will speak with the parent and the child to go over medical history and determine whether Invisalign is right for them. The dentist might consider the following factors:
- how serious the child’s misalignment is
- whether the misalignment is likely to improve or worsen with time
- whether the child is comfortable with Invisalign
- whether the child has the emotional maturity to follow the Invisalign process and wear the aligners for 20-22 hours per day.
After the consultation, the dentist will take impressions of the patient’s teeth and create a series of aligners. The number of aligners depends on the specific Invisalign package. Your dentist might recommend fewer aligners for minor misalignment and more aligners for more severe alignment issues. The patient must wear the aligners for 22 hours per day for the treatment to be effective.
Invisalign has some side effects to consider before giving your child Invisalign treatments. You can read more about the side effects of Invisalign here. In general, they include tooth and gum pain, headaches, trouble speaking clearly, and other dental problems. Be sure that your dentist is candid about the side effects and explains them in terms that both you and your child understand.
Invisalign for Younger Children
Your child can begin standard Invisalign treatments as soon as their baby teeth have come in or even before.
Invisalign offers Invisalign First phase 1 treatment, which is a treatment targeted specifically at children aged 6 through 10. The Invisalign First process does not require children to wait until they have lost their baby teeth or their adult set has come in. Invisalign designs its child tooth aligners with comfort and ease of use in mind so that even young children can improve their smile with little discomfort.
Invisalign and Teenagers
Teenagers are typically prime candidates for Invisalign. Their adult teeth are already in position, and the dentist can usually spot alignment issues relatively easily. Some teenagers might balk at wearing the aligner or having people notice that they are wearing tooth aligners.
See this blog post to read about how Invisalign helps teenagers by preventing tooth alignment problems before they become more serious in adulthood. Teens can remove the aligners while eating or participating in activities, as long as they wear them for at least 22 hours a day.
Talking to Your Child or Teen About Invisalign
If you are the parent of a teenager, take time to talk with your child about the benefits, risks, and consequences of Invisalign. Talk with your child about the possible future consequences of misaligned teeth. Be honest with your child about the possibility of tooth or gum discomfort.
Ask your child about their experience with their teeth. Are they experiencing tooth or jaw discomfort as a result of misaligned teeth? Are they self-conscious about their teeth or their smile? Do they have difficulty speaking clearly or brushing their teeth properly due to misaligned teeth?
Keep in mind that many children and teens are less likely to visualize the long-term consequences of treatments like Invisalign. If your child’s dentist is concerned about alignment problems in the future, help your child to understand and appreciate the long-term benefits.
Are You a Teen Thinking About Invisalign?
If you are thinking about improving your smile and tooth alignment with Invisalign, get more information from the Westchase Smiles Institute website and Invisalign’s webpage. Talk to your dentist and your parents about Invisalign and be honest with them about your goals and your concerns.
What Does This Mean for You?
There is no specific Invisalign age range. Even if your child is not yet ready for Invisalign, be aware of your child’s tooth alignment, help them to learn proper dental hygiene, and teach them to appreciate the importance of being proactive in maintaining their dental health.
Contact the Westchase Smiles Institute
For more information about Invisalign for children and adults in the Tampa area, read more about the topic on the Westchase Smiles Institute website or call us at (813) 437-5662. A dentist will gladly answer “how old do you have to be to get Invisalign” or any other questions you may have.