All posts | February 15, 2024

Can Kids Wear Invisalign?

by Karin Grinbaum

Invisalign has become an increasingly popular option for adults seeking straighter teeth without the look of traditional metal braces. But what about kids — can Invisalign work for them as well? At Smiles and Grins, we often get asked if Invisalign is suitable for children and teenagers. The short answer is yes! When used properly under an orthodontist's supervision, Invisalign can be a great solution for kids in need of mild to moderate orthodontic treatment.

What Exactly is Invisalign?

For those unfamiliar, Invisalign consists of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that gradually shift the teeth into place over time. New aligners are swapped out every 1-2 weeks until treatment is complete. The key benefits of Invisalign include:

  • Clear and discreet appearance - unlike metal braces, Invisalign aligners are practically invisible so no one will notice them.
  • Removable for cleaning and eating - Invisalign makes it easy to brush, floss and eat normally.
  • Comfortable - the smooth plastic is far more gentle on cheeks and gums than traditional wires and brackets.
  • Shortened treatment times - some people finish faster with Invisalign compared to braces.
  • Fewer food and activity restrictions since nothing is permanently cemented to the teeth.

Invisalign works by using carefully tuned plastic and gentle constant pressure to shift the teeth into more ideal positions over a series of 2-week intervals. As long as aligners are worn 20-22 hours per day as directed, they gently coax the teeth into alignment.

Invisalign for Teens vs. Children

Invisalign has created product lines tailored specifically for the needs of growing children and teenagers. Below we outline the differences between Invisalign Teen and Invisalign First.

Invisalign Teen

Invisalign Teen is designed for teenagers between 12-19 years old to correct bite issues, spacing or crowding using clear removable aligners changed every 1-2 weeks. Invisalign Teen is popular among self-conscious teens who want straight teeth without metal wires and brackets. The aligners are more aesthetic and comfortable than traditional braces.

Teens also like that Invisalign Teen allows them to still eat their favorite foods and doesn't restrict contact sports. As long as tight aligner wearing guidelines are followed, Invisalign Teen can give teens a beautiful smile without disrupting normal teenage life.

Invisalign First

Invisalign First is made for younger orthodontic patients between 6-10 years old. It helps develop proper alignment and alleviate crowding issues early on. Invisalign First has benefits over traditional expanders including reduced discomfort, no abrasive hardware in the mouth and shorter treatment times. Starting treatment earlier also helps prevent future extractions by making space in the jaw prior to eruption of adult teeth.

Which Kids Are Good Candidates?

While Invisalign can work wonderfully for many young patients, orthodontists first assess:

  • Age/cooperation level of child - Treatment compliance is crucial so you must ensure your child is mature enough to wear the aligners as scheduled without frequent reminders. Kids who lose their retainer or forget to brush their teeth may not be ready.
  • Complexity of their case - Mild to moderate cases tend to fare better. Severe issues may require braces or supplemental treatments first.
  • Stage of dental development - Enough permanent teeth need to have erupted for Invisalign to effectively shift them into optimal alignment. Early intervention may be recommended if you notice bite or spacing issues in your child's teeth.

In general, pre-teens and teenagers with mild to moderate alignment issues tend to be the best candidates. Only an experienced orthodontist can determine if Invisalign is right for your child after a thorough exam.

Schedule a Consultation

To find out if your child is ready for Invisalign, schedule a complimentary exam at Smiles and Grins. Our experienced Manhattan orthodontist will listen to your needs, thoroughly assess your child’s teeth, explain all pros/cons to determine if Invisalign is truly the best path forward, and advise you on the solution for your child’s healthy, beautiful new smile.

Let our caring orthodontic specialists guide you on achieving the optimal result for your child’s smile. Book your free Invisalign consultation today!

FAQs About Invisalign for Kids

Below we answer common questions about Invisalign for kids and teens:

Is Invisalign as effective as braces for kids?

Yes, with close orthodontist supervision, Invisalign effectively shifts teeth for teens down to age 11 given compliance wearing the aligners 20+ hours per day. But success depends some on case complexity, which an orthodontist assesses early on.

What is the ideal age for kids to start Invisalign?

Most orthodontists recommend early intervention between ages 7-10 if you notice bite or spacing issues in your child's teeth to allow for optimal corrections. Smiles and Grins offers early Invisalign treatment to mitigate more invasive treatments later.

Does Invisalign work faster for children?

Possibly. Experts believe the malleability of growing young bones and roots may enable your child's teeth to shift more rapidly compared to adults. However, timing varies case by case depending on your child’s issues and consistency. An orthodontist will gauge potential timing at a consult.

How much does Invisalign cost for children?

Costs vary per case based on complexity and duration of treatment. At Smiles and Grins, Invisalign for kids starts at $3,500 which includes x-rays, exams, supply of aligners and progress checks. Payment plans and flexible spending accounts can help make treatment affordable. Book a free consultation to learn exact pricing.