Is My Teen Responsible Enough For Invisalign?

Bronx, NYInvisalign is a fantastic treatment option for many orthodontic patients. Teen and adult patients love the aligners because they are clear, comfortable and removable. The aligners are made of a BPA-free plastic that is so clear they are barely noticeable. Because there are not brackets and wires, there is little to no irritation to the inside of your mouth, and because they are removable, you don’t have to make large changes to your diet or oral care routine.

However, removable aligners may be a drawback for some patients. Parents especially may wonder if their child is responsible enough for Invisalign treatment.

“We know that the ability to remove the aligners is a big plus to our patients,” says Dr. Catherine Woo of Riverdale Family Orthodontics. “Instead of worry about changing your diet and remembering what foods to avoid, you can simply take the aligners out every time you eat or drink. Likewise, you don’t have any brackets or wires to worry about brushing around. Just pop the aligners out and brushing and flossing is as easy as always. But in order to be effective, these are the only times the aligner should be taken out.”

Because the aligners are removable, it may be tempting to remove them for a big event. But once you make an exception one time, it becomes easier and easier to make more excuses for not wearing them. And if they aren’t in your mouth, they can’t be doing their job.

Invisalign requires the highest degree of patient compliance of any orthodontic treatment option. The aligners are very effective at moving teeth, but that can only be done when they are worn. To keep your treatment on track, aligners should be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day.

Remembering to wear the aligners isn’t the only responsibility that comes along with Invisalign treatment. Invisalign uses a series of aligners, each one perfectly calibrated to achieve a certain tooth movement. You will wear each set for approximately two weeks before moving on to the next aligner set. Wearing aligners out of order or switching too early can alter your treatment results.

“Invisalign is growing in popularity and we treat patients with it every day,” says Dr. Woo. “However, we always want our patients to be aware of the work it takes on their end. We know that many parents wonder if their children will be responsible enough to properly use the system, so we make sure we take our time to discuss all that is involved and required to make sure Invisalign treatment works.”

The good news for parents of teens who use Invisalign Teen is that it comes with what are called compliance indicators. These are blue marks on the aligners that fade as they are worn. Ideally, but the time the aligner is ready to be switched, we shouldn’t see these marks anymore, indicating the patient has worn them as they should. If the compliance indicators remain, it shows us that the patient isn’t wearing the aligners. If this becomes a pattern, we can discuss switching to another treatment option to ensure the patient’s smile is corrected.

“We want all of our patients to choose the treatment option that is ideal for them,” says Dr. Woo. “We know that teens especially love the idea of Invisalign because of the discreet nature of the treatment. However, if you have any concern over your teen’s ability to comply with correct wear of the aligners, this is something that is important for us to know. Our goal is always to provide a beautiful, healthy and properly functioning smile when treatment is over. However, it is a team effort, and especially so when Invisalign is involved.”

Invisalign is a great way for patients who are committed to their orthodontic treatment to achieve the smiles of their dreams. If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign and if it could work for your teen, call Riverdale Family Orthodontics at 718-884-7700.

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