Is My Kid Too Young for Invisalign?

Person holding invisalign tray

 

As a parent, you’d probably do anything to make your child smile. However, if that smile is looking a little crooked, you might be wondering what your options are to fix it. Invisalign is a common option that many parents like because it avoids a lot of the downsides of traditional braces. 

Yet, as you may have guessed, invisalign isn’t for everyone. For instance, you might wonder if your kid is too young to get invisalign therapy. The best source for knowing if invisalign is a good option for your child is to talk to our dentist about their specific circumstances. However, we do have some general information that may help you. Read on to learn more about invisalign and how age may affect your choice for correcting crooked teeth and abnormal bite for your child. 

Invisalign on a dental mold
Invisalign is an alternative to braces that may work well for your child.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is the brand name for clear aligner therapy. It involves wearing see-through trays over the teeth that help move the teeth like braces. Aligner therapy can help correct many orthodontic issues, like crooked teeth, crowding, underbite, overbite, and crossbite. Therefore, invisalign is an alternative to traditional metal or ceramic braces.

Aligner Therapy vs. Braces

There are several differences between clear aligners and braces. 

Braces generally use metal or ceramic brackets permanently bonded to the teeth and connected by wires. This allows the dentist or orthodontist to put tension on the teeth and gradually move them into a different position. 

By contrast, clear aligners like invisalign use a special tray made out of heavy-duty plastic that you wear over the teeth. This helps put pressure on the teeth to move them into a more favorable position. As therapy progresses and the teeth move, you get different trays to use for treatment. 

Because invisalign trays are clear and almost unnoticeable, many people prefer them to traditional braces with visible brackets and wires. Another benefit of choosing aligner therapy is that the trays can be removed while eating and while cleaning the teeth. This helps reduce discomfort while eating and can also make it easier to brush and floss for many patients.

Is There an Age Requirement for Invisalign?

If your child has some issues with their smile, you might be wondering if invisalign is an option for them. One common question we get is whether there’s a minimum age for invisalign. Generally speaking, no, there is no age requirement for aligner therapy. Instead, it’s based on a patient’s individual circumstances, like the state of their teeth, if they have mostly baby or permanent teeth, as well as their own maturity level. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your dentist in Katy, TX about whether invisalign is a good option for your child. 

Just keep in mind that, most of the time, people don’t get aligner therapy or braces until they have most of their adult teeth, which is usually around ages 12 and 13, though there may be exceptions.

For Major Problems with Baby Teeth, Your Child May Need Early Intervention

While most of the time it’s best to wait until your child has all their permanent teeth before beginning orthodontic treatment, there are some reasons why they might need treatment earlier. In these cases, invisalign may be a good option. 

If your child has severe issues, then they may need early treatment before they even have most of their adult teeth to help prevent issues once they do start getting permanent teeth. 

This is usually called Phase I treatment and occurs between ages 6 and 10. Usually it’s to correct jaws and arches to make enough room for not only current baby teeth but also future permanent teeth. Also, keep in mind that often there’s follow up treatment needed once your child has all their permanent teeth. However, Phase I treatment can help reduce how much time is needed for later treatment. It can also help correct many problems now that might interfere with your child’s every life, like issues eating, talking, and chewing. 

Some signs that your child might need Phase I treatment include:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Misplaced or blocked out teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Frequent cheek biting
  • Teeth that don’t meet when the mouth is closed
  • Teeth or jaw that are disproportionate to the face
  • Early or late baby tooth loss
  • Mouth breathing
  • Protruding or recessed jaw

Invisalign is Popular Among Teens

For less severe issues, typically invisalign is used for teens once all their adult teeth have grown in. This allows your dentist in Katy, TX to address several problems at once and also provide treatment with more predictable results compared to children with mostly baby teeth. 

Many teens prefer invisalign because they are removable for when they eat. They’re also mostly invisible, making them less noticeable than traditional braces. 

By the time your child reaches their teens, they’re also often responsible enough to wear their aligners, which is important for treatment. 

Important Things to Know About Invisalign

Before your child begins aligner therapy, there are several things you need to know as a parent. You can talk to your dentist about whether invisalign is right for your child based on their individual situation. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that aligner therapy is usually best for older kids because they’re more mature and disciplined. For invisalign to work, it’s important for them to wear their trays for at least 22 hours a day, only removing them for eating and brushing their teeth. They should also only drink water while wearing their trays. Therefore, it’s important to really understand how mature your child is and if they’re up for the task. Otherwise, traditional braces may be a better option for them. 

If your child is pretty forgetful, frequently loses things, or simply wouldn’t want to wear their aligners all day every day, then you might be fighting an uphill battle for them to use invisalign, since they can remove the trays whenever they wish. 

Also, while aligner therapy is incredibly effective, it’s not the right solution for every orthodontic issue. For really severe issues like severe bite problems, rotated teeth, or really large gaps, clear aligners may not be able to provide enough movement to correct the issue. Instead, your child may need braces for these issues, at least for a time. Once major issues are corrected, they may be able to switch to invisalign. 

When Should I Ask My Dentist in Katy, TX About My Child’s Crooked Teeth?

If you notice issues with your child’s smile, you might wonder exactly when you should bring them in to talk about orthodontic issues. It might be sooner than you think. Current guidelines recommend looking for orthodontic issues around age seven. By this age, most children have at least some adult teeth and their mouths have grown enough to predict most major orthodontic concerns. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your child will get invisalign or braces at age seven. As we mentioned, many times it’s best to wait until all the adult teeth are grown in unless there’s a severe issue. However, this is when you start watching for bite, crowding, and tooth alignment problems.

The good news is that if you visit our dentist in Katy, TX, we can look for these issues during regular cleanings and dental exams. From there, our team can help develop a treatment plan for any crooked teeth, bite issues, or other concerns.

Quality Dental Care for All Ages at The ToothBooth

We are here to keep your whole family smiling at The ToothBooth with great dental care. Our dentist, Dr. Taha, DDS offers experienced dental care for patients of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. So, whether you need a pediatric dentist near you in Katy, Texas, or are looking for a new dentist as an adult, we are here for you. We offer a wide range of services to address all your dental health needs, including regular cleanings, dental restorations, orthodontics, and cosmetic dentistry like veneers and teeth whitening. Call us today at (832) 437-0841 to schedule an appointment with our team!