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Is Invisalign Only For Adults?

Dr. Kristin Helms

Invisalign is a great product with remarkable results. The Invisalign system can be used to correct most dental problems including open bite, cross bite, crowding, spacing, and general straightening. It is nearly invisible and has become affordable, so why do we continue to view Invisalign as an adult-exclusive option? Truth is, that we don’t but we do consider a few factors before recommending this great product to the younger set.

The Look of Invisalign

Adults may prize the nearly invisible look of Invisalign more than teens. Though adult braces are accepted and much more common, some adults are still concerned with perception in their professional environments, particularly being viewed as younger and less experienced than they are. A 27 year old who is becoming established in his career may think braces will make him look closer in age to his 21 year old intern. Teens, on the other hand, may enjoy dressing up their braces with colorful bands and as accessories demonstrating they are part of their age group. Their oral fittings are viewed as a coming-of-age tool, bringing them closer to adulthood.

The Impermanence

Signing up for braces as an adult is often tied to an upcoming major event: a wedding, a milestone birthday, the birth of a new family member… basically photo opportunities. These upcoming moments bring about a moment of pause and realization that their smile is not what they desire it to be. These events act as a catalyst to take the next step toward a better smile. But what to do when the new alignment isn’t going to be complete in time for the photos? Invisalign. Not only are they nearly invisible when in, but they are easily removed and stored to take the glamor shots for the big day. Braces do not offer this flexibility. While it isn’t ideal for a Prom photo to include a braced-smile, it isn’t perceived as anything but a youthful moment. But a beautiful smile in the happiest wedding photo is forever a prize.

The Self-Discipline

The main reason Invisalign is more often associated with adults is the self-discipline required. Braces are placed on the teeth and adjusted in the dental office. Besides taking care to brush and floss twice daily, they are a set-and-forget solution. Invisalign is not. To have total success in using the product, the alignment tray must stay on the teeth for 22 hours each day. Even a window of 2 hours without the tray can slow the process by letting the teeth begin to set in their current position. It may sound like a simple commitment to a teen, but they often forget that you are taking the tray in and out of your mouth at every meal, whenever drinking anything besides water, when playing contact sports, and when snacking. In addition to not losing the tray, you must clean it and your teeth before putting it back in place. This is often too much for a teen, but can be easily part of an adult’s daily routine. A mature teen may have the discipline to make this work, but the requirement of months of careful consideration can be quite a new circumstance for most who have not experienced activities like long-lasting diets, commitments to the gym, dedication to work schedules, and so on.

With all these things in mind, it all comes down to your personal needs, budget, and responsibility level if Invisalign is right for you. We primarily recommend the Invisalign products to professionals over 25 years old, but we welcome people of all ages and dental needs to discuss their product options.

If you think Invisalign might be a great solution for you, call our office and let’s have an open conversation on the benefits and how it can enhance your lifestyle.