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Can you get Invisalign® clear aligners under 18?

Many young patients aren’t thrilled about the idea of wearing traditional braces. At Shawano Orthodontics, we offer Invisalign clear aligners as a far less noticeable and more flexible way for kids and teens to straighten their teeth. Let’s review the pros and cons of Invisalign treatment for this age group, so you can make the very best decision for your child and their smile.

What is Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign treatment is a practically invisible way of straightening teeth using clear, removable aligners that are custom-made specifically for your child. While traditional braces require wires and brackets, Invisalign treatment only requires the aligners and sometimes bands.

Just like braces, Invisalign clear aligners put pressure on your child’s teeth, gradually shifting them into alignment. Your child will trade out their old aligners for new ones every one to two weeks as prescribed by your orthodontist until treatment is complete. 

For Invisalign treatment to be as effective as possible, your child needs to wear their aligners for at least 22 hours each day. Total treatment time will range between 12-18 months, depending on how much tooth movement is required.

When to get started with treatment

Although it’s never too late to get orthodontic treatment – Shawano Orthodontics sees more adult patients every year! – the ideal time to start is between the ages of 11-13. By the time your child reaches their preteen years, they should have most or all of their adult teeth, yet their jawbone and facial structure are still developing. 

Invisalign treatment can fix misaligned teeth (also known as malocclusion), crooked teeth, crowded teeth, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and many other orthodontic issues. We’ll break down the benefits and drawbacks of Invisalign clear aligners below. But if your child might be more comfortable with an almost invisible treatment, Shawano Orthodontics is ready whenever you want to learn more.

Some children need orthodontic intervention earlier, while others must wait until their adult teeth are more settled. Your Shawano orthodontist will carefully monitor your child’s smile to determine when treatment should begin.

The benefits of Invisalign treatment

The most obvious benefit of Invisalign treatment is clear, literally. The aligners are nearly invisible, making it easy for your child’s orthodontic treatment to go unnoticed. This can give them a major boost in self-confidence, especially during their teen years.

Other benefits of Invisalign treatment include:

  • They’re removable – If your child has a special event coming up (such as yearbook photos, prom, or graduation), they can take their Invisalign clear aligners out. The aligners can also be removed for eating (so no restrictions on chewy, sticky, or hard foods like braces) as well as brushing and flossing their teeth.
  • Fewer emergencies – There’s no need to worry about broken wires or cracked brackets, especially if your child plays contact sports. Teen athletes can remove their aligners for game time, too – just be sure they wear a mouthguard in their place. Shawano Orthodontics makes custom mouthguards that help protect any type of orthodontic treatment.
  • Less irritation – Braces can cause sore spots in your child’s mouth where the wires or brackets rub up against the inside of their lips or cheeks. Because Invisalign clear aligners are smooth, they don’t cause this type of irritation.

The drawbacks of Invisalign treatment

No orthodontic treatment is perfect for everyone, and there are some drawbacks you should consider:

  • They require discipline – Some kids struggle with wearing their aligners as much as they should or putting them back in after removing them. If the aligners don’t stay in your child’s mouth, they can’t do their job. 
  • Easy to lose – Just like they are easy to remove, Invisalign clear aligners are also easy to lose. Many aligners have accidentally made their way into trash cans, never to be seen again.
  • Insurance may not cover the cost – Invisalign treatment, which typically costs between $3,000-$5,000, isn’t covered by some dental insurance providers. That’s why Shawano Orthodontics offers flexible $0 down, 0% interest financing plans to make treatment more accessible and affordable.

Who’s a good candidate for Invisalign aligners?

One of the top reasons to choose an orthodontist over a dentist for Invisalign treatment is because we have the additional education and training to handle almost any situation regarding tooth movement. At Shawano Orthodontics, we also stay current on the latest Invisalign technology.

For preteens and teens with large gaps between their teeth, misshaped teeth, or previous dental work, traditional braces may be the better choice. But if your child could equally benefit from traditional braces or Invisalign clear aligners, it mostly comes down to personal preference. Your Shawano orthodontist will thoroughly explain both options and prescribe the best treatment plan for your child.  

Schedule a free consultation today

Shawano Orthodontics is here to make your child’s orthodontic treatment a success and give them a straight, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. 

Schedule a free consultation now to learn more about your options, including Invisalign clear aligners. Your free consultation will include:

  • One-on-one time with a doctor
  • Digital x-rays
  • iTero® 3D model of your child’s teeth and gums
  • Personalized treatment plan
  • Financial consultation

We do all of this in one convenient visit, so you can get the information and answers you need. Your child’s smile is waiting – contact us today!