Dif­fer­ence Between Invisalign & Braces For Kids and Teens

Choos­ing between Invisalign and fixed met­al braces can be a tough choice for young peo­ple. While many will have to opt for the free NHS treat­ment – which is always fixed met­al braces – those who choose to go pri­vate will have to select between tra­di­tion­al fixed braces and remov­able aligners.

Parents should discuss the options in detail with their children, as it’s important that they understand the implications of their choices. While Invisalign might be the trendy and popular choice, it isn’t ideal for everyone, and parents need to be able to make an informed choice.

In this guide, we’re looking at the differences in treatment between Invisalign and fixed metal braces so you can start to explore your treatment options with your teen.

Which is better: Invisalign or fixed braces?

This is not a simple answer. It all depends on the individual and their orthodontic case. While some teens will respond well to Invisalign treatment, others may not be suited to this due to their habits or forgetfulness.

Invisalign offers some clear advantages:

  • The clear aligners will make your teenager less self conscious about wearing braces.

  • The removable aligners make it easier for your teen to eat their favourite foods.

  • Removable aligners will not get in the way of playing contact sports.

  • There are fewer trips to the dentist for checkups as your teen can change aligners at home.

While these are clearly huge advantages for treatment, there are also downsides:

  • This treatment plan is reliant on your teen wearing their aligners for 20-22 hours per day. If they forget, the treatment won’t work.

  • Removable aligners are more likely to be lost or misplaced, and this could derail and slow down the treatment plan.

Fixed braces also have their own fair share of advantages, including:

  • Fixed braces offer a reliable treatment plan that is less likely to fail due to a lack of compliance.

  • Frequent checkups mean that the treatment will have greater oversight from the dentist.

There are also disadvantages to this treatment plan, such as:

  • Fixed metal braces can make some teens feel self-conscious, particularly if their friends have opted for Invisalign.

  • They may need to change their diet to avoid certain foods that could break the brackets or wires.

  • They will need to adjust their teeth cleaning schedule to accommodate the braces.

  • They will need to visit the dentist for adjustments, which can be problematic for children who need to be in school for exams.

Which is the right choice for my child?

Before making a decision, speak to your dentist to find out if both are even an option. Some children won’t be eligible for Invisalign, so there is little sense in asking them to choose between the two treatments.

Next, consider if your child is self-conscious and would prefer an almost invisible aligner option. If they aren’t bothered, fixed braces could help them to achieve results in a shorter time.

The next question to ask is about your child’s habits and their ability to follow the treatment plan. Are they forgetful, and are they likely to forget to wear their aligners? Do they often misplace things? And would you be worried about them leaving their aligners at school or at a restaurant? Will they leave them in the car and allow them to warp?

Finally, think about their extracurricular activities. If they play a lot of sports, they might want a clear aligner solution that they can simply wear with a gum shield. It is possible to have a custom gum shield made for fixed metal braces, but many teens like to have the option to remove their aligners while they play sports.

How can my dentist help?

If you’re not sure which treatment is right for your child or teen, start by speaking to your dentist. They may have a preference based on your child’s orthodontic needs. While Invisalign is suitable for a wide range of orthodontic issues, you might see more success and a shorter treatment time if you opt for fixed braces.

Get in touch today to speak with our orthodontic team and to learn more about the options available to you. We can share insight into the different options so you can make an informed choice.

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