Is it time for your teenager to begin orthodontic treatment?

When a parent discovers their teenager has crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, braces are usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, here at Hoskinson Orthodontics, we’ve seen more young patients choosing Invisalign® over traditional metal braces in recent years.

Both Invisalign and metal braces can equally create a beautiful smile for your teenager. One is not necessarily better than the other ‒ but there are key differences between Invisalign vs. braces.

What’s the best treatment choice for your teenager? In this article, Hoskinson Orthodontics explores the differences between Invisalign and traditional metal braces. Read on to learn more and contact us today if you’d like to schedule a consultation with our orthodontist.

Metal Braces

With traditional braces, metal brackets are placed and bonded to the enamel of every individual tooth. A metal archwire is then connected between the brackets, which our orthodontist adjusts over time to pull the teeth into the proper position.

How Long Do Teens Wear Braces?

Teenagers can wear metal braces anywhere from several months to a couple of years. Treatment time varies on the individual patient, whether or not they’ve received early orthodontic treatment, and other factors.

Treatment time will also depend on how thorough a patient follows their treatment plan. In many cases, young patients must attach elastic bands between their upper and lower braces. These elastic bands align and improve the bite. Typically, patients have to wear these elastic bands anywhere from six to 12 months. Not wearing these elastic bands as directed can delay treatment.

Invisalign®

Our orthodontist creates accurate images of teeth, which are then used to create Invisalign® removable clear aligners. Virtually invisible, Invisalign gradually shifts the teeth into position over time.

Invisalign® are removable clear aligners that are virtually invisible and gradually shift teeth into position over time.

Hoskinson Orthodontics does not make aligners in cases where major tooth movement is required. In minor cases, we first scan a patient’s teeth with an iTero Scanner. Dr. Hoskinson will then develop a treatment plan and send it to Invisalign®. Once the prescription is developed and the case approved by Dr. Hoskinson, we order the Invisalign!

How Long Do Teens Wear Invisalign?

Invisalign treatment can take anywhere from a year to two years for teenage patients. Treatment time depends on how thorough a patient wears their aligners.

Patients can remove their trays to eat and brush their teeth, but they’re required to wear their trays between 20 and 22 hours per day. They must wear their Invisalign trays overnight while they sleep. The better a patient follows this treatment plan, the better and faster the treatment.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Braces & Invisalign

Metal braces can correct a wider variety of orthodontic issues than Invisalign. But for many young patients, the appearance of metal brackets is a common area of concern.

Of course, children can personalize their braces with different colored rubber bands. But some patients would prefer not having noticeable metal brackets on their teeth whatsoever.

However, in cases of crowding or severe malocclusion, Invisalign may not be a viable treatment.

Still, there are less severe cases where Invisalign may be equally effective, making the discreteness of Invisalign all the more appealing for patients who are more self-conscious about their appearance. It ultimately depends on what our orthodontist decides is best.

The ability to eat a wider variety of foods with Invisalign also makes it more appealing to younger patients. Because with metal braces, patients must avoid hard, chewy foods that can potentially damage the brackets and wiring.

Both metal braces and Invisalign do require daily brushing and maintenance to create the best results in the shortest amount of time. But those with braces have to be more painstaking about brushing and flossing between each bracket; otherwise, they risk having decalcified stains on their teeth once braces come off.

With Invisalign, there is another drawback. Young patients need to practice a higher level of discipline because their aligners are so easily removable. If they don’t wear their Invisalign trays for 20-22 hours per day, they risk longer treatment time.

Invisalign vs. Braces: What’s the Best Choice for Your Teenager?

Completing orthodontic treatment is one of many adolescent milestones, among others like obtaining a learner’s permit or going to the prom.

Though both effective at treating many of the same orthodontic problems, the experience of having braces is different compared to wearing Invisalign clear aligners.

At Hoskinson Orthodontics, we want to make your teenagers’ orthodontic journey as easy and worthwhile as possible. Our orthodontist and staff are here to guide you and your family every step of the way and help you decide between Invisalign vs. braces.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation for your teenager. We look forward to speaking with you!