This is a really big subject in an orthodontic office right now. Kids are coming in and asking for clear aligners like spark or Invisalign. I refer to them as clear aligners because there are so many brands available, the appliance has its own market now! Over the last 10-15 years the capabilities of a clear aligner have improved drastically. We can now correct things that even 5 years ago most orthodontists didn’t think was possible! It’s a very exciting time in orthodontics. An entirely new appliance that we are using to apply the mechanics that safely move your teeth, and they look nice too.
For kids who struggle with brushing, clear aligners may be a better option because they can remove them to brush. Braces can be a struggle for those who aren’t willing to take the time needed to really clean around the brackets.
If you are in sports, aligners can be an easier option to fit with a mouthguard. We can also avoid emergencies for broken brackets and poking wires, which can be irritating but also time consuming.
Clear aligners work well, they are easy to clean, and have very few emergency issues, but they still come with some pitfalls. There are certain cases where braces are more effective and efficient, but these are becoming fewer and fewer. They need to be removed anytime you eat or drink anything other than plain water. If you are a big snacker this can be difficult.
What about the price? In my office I typically charge the same fee for clear aligners and braces because to me they are just a different tool.
The major difference is compliance and how well they are worn. When worn as prescribed, 22 hours per day, they can effectively move teeth as well as braces can. BUT, if your kid doesn’t wear them, or they are sitting on the bedroom floor, they just won’t work. In those cases, we have braces, which are glued on your teeth and will get the job done!
I am including pictures here from a recent patient who is 6 months into treatment! I have a post on instagram showcasing multiple 6 month progress cases from teenagers. Their progress is remarkable. We are now doing a mid-treatment refinement scan to get their final set of trays where we will fine detail things. I have so many teenagers who are so successful with clear aligners.
So can kids handle clear aligners, absolutely! The right kid who is ready to commit can have outstanding results! Some kids still do better and prefer braces. It’s really up to you and what is best for your family. Come in for a complimentary consultation and I would be happy to discuss the best option for you or your child!