Selecting the Right Orthodontic Treatment for Your Child

Every parent wants to set their child up for success, and part of that is ensuring their child has a straight, healthy smile by getting them orthodontic treatment.

Getting braces is a milestone in life for millions of kids in the United States. Traditional metal braces remain one of the most common types of orthodontic treatment, but Invisalign has also been in higher demand for children and especially more self-conscious teens. With these two options being so readily available, it can be tricky to decide which is the better choice for your child.

Only a skilled orthodontist, like Brocks Gap Dental Group’s orthodontics team, can determine whether traditional braces or Invisalign is the optimal choice for your child. However, as a parent, it’s still valuable to learn about both of these options as well as determining when it’s time to schedule an evaluation with our orthodontist.

When is my child ready for Invisalign or traditional braces?

There is no single answer for when a child is ready to get Invisalign or traditional braces as every child develops differently, but there are some general guidelines.

On average, it’s recommended parents schedule their child’s first orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven to eight years of age. This initial evaluation is usually just to see how your child’s teeth are currently maturing and to note any potential problems before they develop. By taking digital x-rays and scans, our orthodontist will be able to estimate when orthodontic treatment will need to begin in order to get the best results.

Children can get orthodontic treatment in the form of traditional braces as young as eight, but this is quite rare. The ‘sweet spot’ for orthodontic care is usually when a child is between 10 and 14 years of age. During this period of time, most children will have enough growth to be ready for braces or aligners but are still young enough for teeth movement or bite realignment to still be easy.

Children as young as 10 are usually old enough to get Invisalign as well. The company offers a special product called Invisalign First, which is geared towards patients between the age of six and 10 as a means of beginning orthodontic treatment early on. For older kids and teens, standard Invisalign treatment can be started at any age.

What are the pros and cons of Invisalign and braces?

When it comes down to Invisalign versus traditional braces, there’s no clear winner. Both treatment options are time-tested and highly recommended, but there are a few differences between them to consider.

Here is a rundown of the main pros and cons of these two orthodontic treatments.

Advantages of Invisalign

  • Nearly invisible clear aligners are attractive to kids worried about the look of braces.
  • Faster treatment time (estimated 12 to 18 months).
  • Removable aligners make brushing and flossing easy.
  • Diet doesn’t need to change since aligners are taken out for meals and snacks.
  • Very comfortable with zero irritation.

Disadvantages of Invisalign

  • Aligners must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day, but kids can be forgetful.
  • Isn’t suitable for severe bite alignment issues.
  • Can’t be used to rotate teeth or move them vertically.
  • Can’t be used if bridges are already in place.
  • Further dental treatment (i.e. crowns) can’t occur while straightening.

Advantages of Braces

  • Less expensive compared to Invisalign.
  • Very effective for complex dental issues.
  • Being non-removable means no worries about kids being forgetful.

Disadvantages of Braces

  • Special dietary changes are needed (i.e. no gum, sticky foods).
  • Thorough cleaning and brushing is trickier because of wires and brackets.
  • Wires can cause irritation to the lips and cheeks.
  • Not a good choice for kids playing contact sports like football or wrestling.

Invisalign and traditional braces are both fantastic options that yield incredible results for kids, but only an orthodontist will be able to accurately determine which is the right choice for your child.

What is orthodontic retention and why is it important?

Orthodontic retention is an important part of successful orthodontic treatment and another thing to consider as a parent of a child getting braces or Invisalign.

Orthodontic retention is the final phase of orthodontic treatment and lasts for upwards of six months or more after your child completes active treatment with braces or aligners. Our orthodontist will provide a custom-fitted retainer (either removable or fixed) for your child to wear throughout the day and night for six or more months. This retainer ensures that the teeth do not shift after the braces or aligners come off, so it’s paramount that this phase is strictly followed.

During the orthodontic retention phase, your child will still visit our orthodontist so they can monitor progress. After the teeth settle and our orthodontists feels it’s safe to reduce wear-time, they’ll give the OK for your child to only wear their removable retainer at night. It’s highly advised your child or teen continues to wear their retainer four to seven nights a week for life, as teeth can still shift even well into adulthood.

Schedule your child’s evaluation exam with Brock’s Gap Dental Group.

Every child has unique needs, especially when it comes to an orthodontic treatment plan that will yield them the best results.

No two mouths are alike and in many cases, it’s impossible to determine whether Invisalign or traditional braces is the better option from simply taking a look at your own child’s teeth. This is why it’s important to learn about both treatment options and keep an open mind during your child’s evaluation exam.

During this appointment, our team will perform a thorough orthodontic exam and take digital scans or x-rays of your child’s teeth to see how the structure looks. They will also point out and explain any troublesome areas they’re noticing if there is any serious misalignment developing, and what treatment option will be best. From there our orthodontist will put together a treatment plan utilizing Invisalign or traditional braces, based on the findings from the examination.

You can schedule your child’s orthodontic examination with our Brock’s Gap orthodontics team by either giving us a call or using our online Request an Appointment form.