Is Invisalign Right for My Adolescent?


teeth imperfection

What to Know Before Choosing Invisalign

How can you know if Invisalign is the best orthodontic treatment option for your child?

San Francisco, CAInvisalign is an effective, efficient and well-loved orthodontic treatment option. Patients of all ages love it because the clear aligners are comfortable, removable and clear. But is Invisalign the best treatment option for your adolescent?


The recommended age to visit an orthodontist the first time is seven. This provides an opportunity for the orthodontist to see how the smile is taking shape and take note of any issues that may benefit from early interceptive treatment. For patients who undergo this two-phase orthodontic treatment, braces may come earlier rather than later. If your child falls into this category, is Invisalign a viable option?

“Unfortunately, one of Invisalign’s greatest pros for patients is also one of its biggest cons,” says Dr. Tony Cucalon of Cucalon Orthodontics in San Francisco. “The aligners are removable and must be removed before eating and drinking. Because of this, it makes them much easier to misplace, or for the patient to forget to wear altogether. We recommend patients wear each aligner set a minimum of 22 hours a day for approximately two weeks, but because they can be taken out, it’s easy for patients to find reasons to remove them – like for a big event or something else.”

If you worry your child may not be responsible enough to remember to wear the aligners as directed by the orthodontist, Invisalign Teen does have a fallback. Built-in compliance indicators let the parent and orthodontist know if the patient is wearing the aligners the recommended amount of time. The indicators are blue dots that fade over time. If at the end of the two weeks your child’s aligner still has blue dots, you will know he or she didn’t wear the aligner the recommended amount of time.

“The aligners can only be effective if they are worn as directed,” says Dr. Cucalon. “If they aren’t in your mouth, they can’t be moving your teeth. But in addition to that, your child cannot eat or drink with the aligners in. Eating can warp the plastic and drinking anything other than water can damage the plastic of the aligners, as well. So, if you do not believe your child is responsible enough to remember to remove the aligners before eating and drinking and then placing them back in every single time, Invisalign may not be the ideal treatment option.”

Invisalign Teen is typically recommended for patients in their early teen years. However, if you believe your younger child is an ideal candidate for Invisalign treatment, speak with your orthodontist. You know your child best and will be able to discuss any concerns with the orthodontist to get a better understanding of how the treatment works and if your child could benefit from it.

No matter what treatment your child chooses, orthodontic treatment will set your child up for a lifetime of good oral health and positive self-image. Call Cucalon Orthodontics today to schedule your free consultation – 415-563-2348.






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