Invisalign vs. Invisalign Teen: What’s The Difference?

Many teens and adults have orthodontic concerns, like crooked teeth or an overbite, that need to be resolved. Young adolescents and older adults often want to enjoy a straighter smile, but the thought of wearing braces seems a bit daunting. Fortunately for those with aesthetic concerns, there are a variety of options for less noticeable forms of treatment, including Invisalign and Invisalign Teen.

Invisalign and other clear aligner systems were created to give patients a clear and removable alternative to braces. Invisalign uses clear, removable aligners to move your teeth both gradually and accurately. The real key to achieving a great smile with aligners is to wear them the prescribed 22 hours per day. These clear aligners offer an alternative to traditional braces, allowing for the correction of alignment problems subtly, without ever altering the look of your smile.

Invisalign has completely revolutionized the way we think of orthodontic treatment today. The company even created Invisalign Teen with young adolescents in mind. When choosing which Invisalign product is right for you or your teen, it is important to know the differences to determine the right product for you.

The Invisalign System – How it Works

The Invisalign system uses a series of clear, removable aligners to help adjust the position and alignment of teeth. Although the concept is not new, Invisalign has been able to simplify the aligner process. Invisalign requires only one set of photographs and impressions of the teeth to create a digital treatment plan. Some dental practices, like Laster Orthodontics, will use digital scanners to get patient impressions which are less messy and more accurate. Each plan is customized specifically for the patient, mapping out how the teeth should be incrementally moved. A series of custom aligners are created based off of the treatment plan and will move the teeth into the correct position over time.

Once the aligners are manufactured by Align Technologies using CAD/CAM processes, they will be sent to your dentist or orthodontist. Treatment needs to be appropriately and routinely monitored, so the next sets of aligners will be given to you at each regular check-up. Every aligner will be worn for one to two weeks, depending on your treatment plan.

When comparing Invisalign to braces, one of the most significant differences is the ability to remove the aligners in order to eat and clean your teeth. While it’s fine to remove them for eating, brushing, and flossing, it’s critical that you wear the aligners for a minimum of 22 hours per day to successfully reposition your teeth. Typically, 20 or more Invisalign aligners are required for complete treatment. There is also an accelerated Invisalign treatment where the patient switches aligners every 3 days in order to achieve a perfect smile in 6 months or less.

Aligner systems like Invisalign can be used to correct mild dental problems. Some of these problems include:

  • Overbite – When your upper teeth bite over top of your lower teeth.
  • Overcrowded Teeth – When you don’t have enough room in your jaw for all of your teeth to fit normally or comfortably.
  • Mild Relapse – If you’ve had traditional braces and relapsing tooth movement has occurred.
  • Crossbite – When the lower and upper jaws are misaligned, resulting in one or more of your upper teeth to bite inside of your lower teeth. However, braces are more effective than Invisalign with treating crossbites.
  • Widely Spaced Teeth – When you have too much space between your teeth.
  • Malocclusions – Simple malocclusions, or bite irregularities may be effectively treated with Invisalign in some cases. Braces will be recommended over Invisalign for significant bite issues.

Invisalign Teen vs. Invisalign

Invisalign Teen is specifically designed for young adolescents, giving them the chance to maintain their self-confidence and self-esteem, accommodate an active lifestyle, and deal with their orthodontic needs successfully. The main difference between the two products is that Invisalign Teen was developed to treat a patient who is still growing. This Invisalign product accommodates not only for the way a teen’s teeth grow in, but also normal adolescent behaviors and habits. Here are the specifics of the Invisalign Teen aligner system:

  • Eruption Tabs – One of the challenges of orthodontic treatment for teens is the fact that their mouths are continually moving and changing. Invisalign Teen addresses this problem with eruption tabs that are designed to accommodate the growth of a teen’s second molars. This helps guide the new teeth into the correct position, so new alignment issues don’t occur.
  • Blue Dot Wear Indicator – Another unique feature of Invisalign Teen is the Blue Dot Wear Indicator. This indicator fades as the aligners become worn, letting teens, parents, and orthodontists know when it’s time to change aligners.
  • Replacements – With Invisalign Teen, six extra replacement aligners are included as a backup in case a teen misplaces or damages an aligner between checkups. This gives parents extra peace of mind, while saving them money. If a teen does misplace or damage an aligner, it is important to call an Orthodontist right away.

Which Invisalign Option is Right for You?

Invisalign offers different products to meet the unique needs of patients who require orthodontic treatment. When seeking Invisalign aligner treatment, it is important to work with an orthodontist who is a preferred Invisalign and Invisalign Teen provider. When it comes to deciding which product is right for your child, here are a few things to consider:

  • Patient Age and Lifestyle – Both patient age and lifestyle should be considered when trying to determine which Invisalign product is right for you. For adults, the original product is generally the right choice. However, for teens who have teeth that are continuing to erupt and shift, or tend to be forgetful, Invisalign Teen may be a better fit.
  • Orthodontist Recommendations – Keep in mind, Invisalign isn’t always the right choice for everyone, so a professional exam and opinion are critical. The best course of action is to speak to your orthodontist about Invisalign. Your orthodontist will consider your unique needs to determine which product is right for you. Some orthodontist offices, like Laster Orthodontics, offer Invisalign alternatives, such as the Laster Perfect Smile aligners. These aligners work like Invisalign, but because they are created in-house, they offer patients a much cheaper orthodontic treatment experience.
  • Safety First – Invisalign or in-house aligner products like Laster Perfect Smile system are the only ADA recommended orthodontic treatment options on the market. Smile Direct Club aligners are heavily marketed, but are dangerous as they do not involve a doctors supervision. There are many instances reported where using unsupervised orthodontic treatment like Smile Direct Club has been either ineffective or led to more severe dental problems.

If you have questions about which option best suits your orthodontic needs, be sure to speak with an orthodontist who specializes in providing Invisalign services. If you are in the Raleigh, Rolesville, or Zebulon area of North Carolina, Laster Orthodontics can help you with your Invisalign solutions.

At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to Propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster’s in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.