Your child's orthodontist will make specific recommendations about the best method to align a young patient's teeth. This recommendation might be Invisalign, which your child is likely to be happy about, as these transparent aligners are far less obvious and invasive than traditional dental braces. But is Invisalign such a good idea for a child?
The Age When Treatment Begins
Although orthodontic treatment generally isn't performed on very young patients, it can begin slightly later in childhood, with many patients beginning treatment in their early teens. There's no predetermined age that is best to commence orthodontic work, and it depends on the nature of the issue requiring treatment, along with when this issue was first identified. There are no age restrictions when it comes to Invisalign, and whether it's a good idea for a child largely depends on your specific child.
The success of a transparent aligner system such as Invisalign depends on patient compliance. This essentially means that the patient (regardless of their age) must commit to the requirements of the treatment method. These requirements are not extreme and are primarily concerned with wearing Invisalign for the predetermined number of hours per day. With Invisalign, this is anywhere from 20 to 22 hours per day. The aligner trays should only be removed for eating, followed by a thorough brushing of your child's teeth, before the trays are re-inserted.
In short, Invisalign will be an excellent choice for your child, provided they wear their trays as expected. If your child should neglect to re-insert their trays or decide to remove them because they might feel mildly uncomfortable (which can be an issue when they begin using a new aligner tray), then Invisalign won't have the anticipated effects. At first, your child's orthodontist may advise extending the interval of a specific tray. For example, if your child gets into the habit of removing their trays for extended periods during the day, the usage of the current tray might be extended for several days. This prolongs the overall treatment time, while also making the process less effective. If this non-compliance continues, it may be necessary to halt Invisalign, and for your child to be fitted with traditional (non-removable) braces.
It doesn't matter what the patient's age might be, since failure to wear the trays for the minimum number of hours per day will severely curtail the effectiveness of the system. Children should be reminded about the crucial importance of following their orthodontist's instructions.