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How to Determine If Your Child Is Ready for Invisalign®

How to Determine If Your Child Is Ready for Invisalign®

Like the rest of their body, your child’s teeth and mouth develop at their own rate. As a result, there’s no specific age at which everyone is ready for orthodontic treatment. 

In many cases, the timing of orthodontics depends on the conditions causing misalignment. While early treatment that occurs while baby teeth are still present can prevent some problems from becoming worse, some conditions are treated best when all your child’s permanent teeth have erupted. In some cases, your child may require the first phase of treatment while baby teeth are present, followed by the final treatment when permanent teeth arrive.

Whenever orthodontic treatment is recommended, children and teens often prefer Invisalign® clear aligners over traditional metal braces. Like adults, your child will appreciate the opportunity to maintain their current appearance and avoid metal wires and brackets. 

Pediatric dentist Staci Brunell, DMD, at Yorktown Pediatric Dentistry in Yorktown Heights, New York, specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of orthodontic conditions with Invisalign as well as traditional metal braces. Dr. Brunell develops an individualized orthodontic treatment plan based on the age and needs of your child. 

If Invisalign is appropriate, Dr. Brunell has the expertise and experience necessary to ensure your child achieves optimal results without the inconvenience of metal braces and wires. 

Signs your child may need Invisalign

The need for braces can develop at any age. To help identify the timing and need for orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists advises that parents schedule their child’s first orthodontic examination by age 7 unless issues occur earlier. Assessing your child’s mouth at an early age can identify problems that may benefit from treatment before permanent teeth arrive. 

Here are some common signs that orthodontic treatment with Invisalign may be appropriate for your child:

Malocclusion

Malocclusion describes a condition in which the upper and lower teeth and/or jaws do not align normally. The condition often results in overcrowded teeth or an abnormal bite pattern such as an overbite, underbite, or crossbite. 

While malocclusion is frequently hereditary, your child may also be more likely to develop malocclusion if they sucked their thumb, used a bottle longer than normal, or used a pacifier past age 3. Other factors, including extra teeth, a jaw injury, lost permanent teeth, or abnormally shaped teeth, can also contribute to malocclusion.

While a consultation with Dr. Brunell is the best way to determine whether your child has evidence of malocclusion, you may notice evidence of one of the following three varieties of malocclusion:

Difficulty speaking or chewing

When your child has a misalignment, they may find it uncomfortable to speak or chew normally. Instead, they move their mouth to compensate for the abnormality. This may result in the inability to pronounce certain sounds correctly or diction problems such as a lisp when they speak. 

Crowded or misaligned teeth can also prevent your child from brushing and flossing properly. These conditions can interfere with your child’s ability to maintain normal dental hygiene and result in the development of cavities.

Abnormal facial appearance

An overbite or underbite can change the way your child’s face appears at rest and when they smile. Without treatment, a misaligned jaw can alter the shape of your child’s face so that their face appears dull or sluggish. Their lips may appear uneven, or two sides of their face may look misaligned. 

Under the direction of Dr. Brunell, Invisalign can correct an abnormal or uneven facial appearance by positioning teeth normally. By correcting crowded, gapped, crooked, or protruding teeth, your child’s normal facial symmetry can be restored. The result can help your child feel more comfortable and confident about the way they look. 

An easier solution

No matter what orthodontic problems affect your child, Invisalign can make teeth straightening easier for your child. Invisalign’s industry-leading technology uses comfortable, custom-fitted aligners that are virtually invisible during wear. By delivering dramatic results without metal devices, Invisalign has improved the smiles of more than 11 million patients.

In addition to enjoying the discrete treatment, your child will have the freedom to remove their aligners for eating, playing sports, or special occasions. With removable aligners, your child will have the freedom to enjoy their favorite foods without restrictions typical with metal braces. 

As an added benefit, the ability to remove Invisalign aligners means that your child can continue normal brushing and flossing without the interference of permanent bands and wires. This can help prevent decay and the need for additional treatment to repair cavities. 

Learn more about Invisalign and when it may be appropriate for your child to begin orthodontic treatment. Contact our office to arrange a consultation.

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