Alternative to Braces for Teens San Luis Obispo, CA
If your teen is tired of living with crooked teeth, now is an excellent time to consider orthodontics. At Gregory Pearce Thurston, DDS, we regularly answer questions about Invisalign Teen® as an alternative to braces for teens. This product is growing in popularity as more and more teens are transforming their smile without the use of bulky and noticeable braces. If you live in San Luis Obispo, CA or the area, we encourage you to call (805) 910-1216 and schedule an examination. We can let you know whether or not Invisalign® is the right solution for your child and how to get started.
What is Invisalign Teen®?
Invisalign® straightens teeth using a series of clear, plastic aligners. For teeth to move from their current crooked position to where they are supposed to be, pressure must be applied. With braces, this is done using metal brackets with wires threaded between them. With Invisalign®, we apply pressure using a series of clear aligners that place specific amounts of pressure on specific teeth. When worn in a series, they put the right amount of pressure on the teeth to migrate the teeth to the correct position.
Here are six things you should know about Invisalign® prior to visiting our office.
- Teens love Invisalign®. If your teen enjoys their orthodontics treatment, they will be more committed to following through with it. Orthodontics is not a procedure that people can complete in one visit. It is up to your teen to remember to wear their aligners, keep up with appointments and care for his or her teeth. While the same level of commitment is necessary for wearing braces, Invisalign® can lead to better satisfaction in the teen during the process and months of wearing the product. Teens wear Invisalign® aligners for at least 21 hours per day. However, teens can remove the aligners to eat, brush their teeth, play sports or for taking a picture.
- Easier to use. One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign Teen® as an alternative to braces for teens, is that the clear aligners are incredibly easy to use. The clear aligners function like a removable retainer. Your teen puts the aligners in and takes them out as necessary since we do not need to permanently fix anything in place. As long as a teen brushes his or her teeth after each meal, the teen can eat any favorite foods and not have to adjust the diet. All the teen needs to do is take the aligners out and put them in a secure case while eating. The same is true when it comes to brushing their teeth. This is a far cry from braces, where the brushing and flossing routine requires additional tools and can take up to twenty minutes at a time.
- Teeth stay cleaner. Since teeth are easier to keep clean when wearing Invisalign®, there is less of a chance of developing stains or even cavities. Consider this, when a person wears braces, food can become stuck all along the brackets and underneath the wires. These areas can be hotbeds for bacteria and plaque that can eat away at the teeth and lead to decay. In order to prevent this, special brushes need to be used on a daily basis so that the brackets themselves can stay relatively clean. Proper dental hygiene can be difficult for adults, let alone children or teens. This is one reason that Invisalign Teen® is an ideal treatment option. By removing the aligners while eating, there is nothing additional for food to get stuck on or for plaque to grow on. Since they come out to brush and floss, the process of oral hygiene is as convenient as it has always been. Invisalign Teen® makes a win-win for oral hygiene and for the aesthetics of the smile.
- Better for self-esteem. While braces are smaller in size than in the past, many people still associate stigma with wearing braces. When teens hear they will need to wear braces, many may feel insecure about looking different, become worried about standing out, and dislike the idea of going to school with a metal mouth. At Gregory Pearce Thurston, DDS, we get it. No matter how efficient of a job braces can accomplish, some teens may prefer an alternative due to feelings of insecurity or being self-conscious. As a parent, we encourage you not to force the issue since braces are a long-term commitment and if they are not happy on day one, it is unlikely that they will be happy a few months in the process. Instead, we recommend using Invisalign Teen®. Our San Luis Obispo dental office can provide a nearly invisible solution for teens that other people will have trouble noticing. The discreet function while wearing Invisalign Teen® allows them to smile every day without hiding their teeth. As the teen’s smile improves during the process, he or she will remain positive and notice the changes.
- Treatment time. We can let you know how long the treatment will last when you visit our dental office. Generally speaking, most teens need to wear their aligners for around eighteen months. The overall treatment time with Invisalign Teen® can vary on how often the teen removes the aligners. While a teen may only need to wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, if they remove the aligners for too long, they risk extending the treatment time. Wearing Invisalign Teen® takes commitment and care, but can provide a positive experience in comparison to other methods.
- Invisalign Teen® is more comfortable. At Gregory Pearce Thurston, DDS, we hear many of our patients mention how comfortable they are during the treatment process. Anytime teeth move, there is bound to be some level of soreness. Whether your teen wears metal braces or aligners, there will be some soreness following an adjustment or switching to a new aligner. A small amount of soreness during an adjustment is perfectly natural. The difference in comfort is more noticeable when one considers how everything feels on a regular basis. Since traditional braces involve metal brackets and wires, that metal can rub up against the cheeks and inside of the mouth, causing irritation. It is not uncommon for people to get sores or cuts in their mouth as a result. Naturally, this is inconvenient and entirely avoidable when wearing Invisalign Teen®. Since the aligners are clear plastic, they are smooth and will be unlikely to cut your teen’s mouth during treatment.
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How do I get started with Invisalign®?
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Definition of Invisalign® Terminology
- Aligner Trays
- With Invisalign® treatment, the patient will receive a series of aligner trays and swap out each one for the next one in the series every two weeks in order to gradually straighten the teeth.
- Blue Compliance Indicator (Invisalign® Teen)
- The blue compliance indicator is a small blue dot on the aligners that will fade from blue to clear in order to indicate if the patient is wearing the aligner for the proper amount of time and where the patient is in the Invisalign® process.
- ClinCheck® Software
- ClinCheck® software allows professionals to map out the straightening process the patient’s teeth will go through with Invisalign® in great detail.
- Gum Line
- The gum line is the line in the mouth where the teeth and gums meet. If a patient struggles with gum recession, then the gum tissue around the teeth may begin to wear away.
- Incisal Ridges
- Incisal ridges are the portion of the crown of the tooth that makes up the incisal portion and can be a direct cause of overbite if they are extended too far.
- iTero Element® Scanner
- An iTero Element® scanner allows professionals to create a 3D image of the patient’s teeth in minutes and predict what it will take to move the teeth into proper alignment.
- Malocclusion is the condition in which the upper and lower teeth do not meet properly when the bite is closed. Conditions of malocclusion can include overbite, underbite, crossbite and open bite; all of which are treatable with Invisalign®.
- An overbite is a type of malocclusion that occurs when the upper teeth jut out over the lower teeth, covering them and causing other issues.
- Polyurethane Resin
- Polyurethane Resin is a USP Class VI medical grade, high molecular weight compound that makes up the Invisalign® aligners.
- SmartForce Attachments
- SmartForce attachments are small attachments that professionals place on the patient’s teeth before placing aligners to help move the teeth.
- Smart Track® Material
- Smart Track® material is in Invisalign® aligners to increase comfort, improve control of movement, increases the speed of treatment and applies a gentle force to the teeth over time.
- Smile-Scan analyzes the way a patient smiles by measuring the position of the mouth and eyes before giving a score.
- Vivera® Retainers
- Vivera® retainers are a type of retainer that consists of clear plastic material and helps to maintain orthodontic corrections after a treatment.
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