Malocclusion, or misaligned teeth, is something which occurs in a sizeable portion of the population, to some varying degree. If you have a child that has teeth that haven’t grown in straight, this isn’t particularly unusual. However, if you have been unable to provide them with the orthodontic care they need, and your child is swiftly growing into a teenager, then their need for smile correction rises exponentially. As we all know and remember, adolescence can be a trying time, full of angst and social challenges. Teenagers can be cruel and judgemental, and easily embarrassed by the slightest physical flaw. The last thing that you as a parent want is to send the children you love into a volatile environment like high school, with teeth that they will almost certainly find extremely embarrassing. This is why it’s important to take your child to the dentist or orthodontist, to have their problem addressed.
But there’s just one big obstacle to doing this: no teenager in their right mind wants to wear braces. Braces are strongly associated in everyone’s mind with children, and the last thing that a young person entering adolescence wants is to wear something that makes them look more like a child; the teen years are when they are just beginning the struggle to find their adult identity. Having to suddenly wear metal braces across their teeth that make them feel like they look nine years old again is an unappealing prospect, to say the least. But that’s okay, because modern orthodontics has actually invented several smile solutions which are much less visually obtrusive than the standard, metal braces that are used on children tend to be.
The reason that we think of metal braces and children when we hear the word “braces” is two-fold: firstly, most people have their malocclusions corrected by an orthodontist when they are children, and the type of braces that used most often on children is the standard metal variety. This is because metal braces are cheap, effective, require little maintenance, and most of all, children are not nearly as self-conscious as teenagers and adults are. Consequently, most braces, and certainly the most visible of all types of braces, are those worn by children. So, the result is that when we hear “braces,” we think kids, and metal on teeth.
But there has always been a market for braces for self-conscious teens and adults, and that means braces that are invisible, or as close to it as they can be. Not surprisingly, orthodontics has met the challenge with a variety of solutions. There are several alternative types of braces, including some made of clear plastic, white ceramics, or lingual braces, which are on the backs of the teeth, rather than the fronts, and are therefore obscured from view by the teeth themselves. All of these solutions are great, but the pale in comparison to the most popular form of incognito braces, which in fact aren’t braces at all, but something called invisalign.
Invisalign uses an implement called aligners, rather than braces. Braces are systems of metal brackets and wires which fasten to the teeth using an adhesive, and pull the teeth in the direction they need to go. Aligners, on the other hand, fit over the entire rows of teeth, like a clear plastic glove, which then gently pushes or twists the teeth back into place. By being made close enough to your current teeth’s configuration to be worn on them, but just different enough to create pressure which repositions them, invisalign aligners provide effective smile correction without having to use any metal, wires, plastic, or ceramics. They are also about as close to invisible as you can get, and this makes them extremely popular, for teens and adults alike.
I’m sure you have your reasons for not getting your child’s malocclusions addressed when they were children. Perhaps you didn’t have insurance, at the time, or couldn’t afford it for whatever other reason. If that situation has changed, then you shouldn’t hesitate to talk to your kids about getting invisalign aligners, today. Teenagers don’t always want to admit that they are embarrassed by their crooked teeth, but you can be almost certain they are. Very few people truly don’t care what they look like, and even fewer teens. But with invisalign aligners, they don’t have to correct their embarrassing problem with an equally embarrassing solution, like metal braces. Invisalign represents a resolution to the problem that is discreet, and can have your teenagers self-esteem radically improved in a matter of a few weeks or months. It’s beyond worth it.