Too Old, Too Young: Is There a Perfect Age for Invisalign?
Invisalign vs. Braces
Invisalign is quickly becoming one of the most widely used orthodontic treatment options on the market.
How does Invisalign work? Clear plastic aligners are used to move crowded, crooked, and misaligned teeth into their proper positions. Invisalign provides a more convenient and affordable treatment option than traditional braces, which has driven the popularity of Invisalign to new heights.
Who should get Invisalign? The system can be used in many cases where traditional braces would ordinarily be used. However, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. There are certain cases where they simply aren’t appropriate, and the patient’s age can play a part in that.
Can you be too young for Invisalign?
The short answer is yes; you can be too young for Invisalign.
Invisalign provides various products and treatment options, including its Invisalign Teen program, specifically designed for teenagers, the age group most associated with braces. However, Invisalign isn’t an effective treatment for many early orthodontic issues.
Orthodontic treatment in children and teenagers can be divided into two separate phases.
Phase II treatment can correct bite problems, crowding, jaw development, and other issues around the time that most or all of the permanent teeth have established themselves. Traditional braces are the most common type of phase II treatment.
Invisalign is often an effective alternative to traditional braces for phase II treatment. But phase I treatment isn’t always so straightforward. Phase I refers to treatment implemented before most or all of the adult teeth have emerged, and it’s characterized by different challenges and solutions.
Much of phase I treatment focuses on guiding development to avoid future issues. Successful phase I treatment can often eliminate or reduce the need for phase II treatment. Several possible treatment options can be used in phase I, such as palatal expanders, space maintainers, specialized retainers, and limited braces.
Invisalign offers a specific treatment for phase I treatment called Invisalign First. However, this product is limited in its capabilities and works best as an alternative to limited braces, as opposed to the other phase I treatment appliances.
If your child needs phase I treatment and is younger than 11, they could be too young for Invisalign. If that’s the case, you’ll need to seek another viable treatment option for their specific orthodontic needs.
Can you be too old for Invisalign?
Strictly speaking, you can’t be too old for Invisalign treatment.
Invisalign is well known for its popularity among adult patients and is a driving factor in the recent surge in adult orthodontic treatment. The system can help adult patients of all ages achieve a straighter smile. However, certain factors related to aging can complicate treatment.
First, you should understand that treatment times generally take longer in adults than in teenagers.
How does Invisalign work on fully-established adult teeth compared to those that are still developing? The increased size and bone density of adult teeth can make moving them more difficult. In other words, it can still work, but it might take longer.
Moreover, orthodontic issues tend to worsen over time. If you’ve experienced gaps, crowding, or bite issues for years without treatment, they may have worsened to the point that Invisalign won’t be an effective treatment option.
Assuming you haven’t had routine dental care, issues such as tooth decay and gum disease may need to be addressed before you can take advantage of Invisalign. That means your overall treatment plan may shift toward other treatment options.
Other Factors to Consider
Much of what goes into determining eligibility for Invisalign treatment takes place at our Berrien Springs or Saint Joseph dental clinic locations. A thorough evaluation and X-rays are necessary to determine the specific type of malocclusion or another orthodontic issue you’re facing.
Invisalign is highly effective at treating most cases of crossbite, open bite, overbite, and underbite. However, extreme cases of any of these issues will likely require traditional braces or other orthodontic solutions besides Invisalign.
How to Get Invisalign
The most important thing to remember when deciding how to get Invisalign is that you need to work directly with your dentist.
While you hopefully have a better understanding of the general rules for who should get Invisalign and who shouldn’t, every case is unique and requires the insight and knowledge only a trained dentist can provide.
If you or your child need quality orthodontic treatment, you’ll find it at Berrien Dental. We invite you to schedule an appointment at our Berrien Springs or Saint Joseph dental clinic. During your visit, we can develop a custom treatment plan that may or may not include Invisalign, depending on your individual needs. Contact Berrien Dental today to set up your consultation.